According to Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester City’s players expected the club to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after the takeover.
MANCHESTER CITY legend Pablo Zabaleta has revealed how his former teammates joked that after the takeover, they’d be playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
When Sheikh Mansour, a billionaire, purchased the Premier League club in 2008, it became one of the richest clubs in the world overnight.
They didn’t waste any time in announcing their intentions when they paid £32.5 million for Robinho, breaking the British transfer record.
Over the years, a slew of high-profile signings would follow, including Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Yaya Toure.
And Zabaleta, who was the club’s final signing before the takeover, claimed that the rest of the squad was concerned about their future prospects.
“Ten days after my arrival, the people of Abu Dhabi execute the purchase of the club,” he told La Nacion last year.
“Four days later, they invest £40 million in Robinho, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Now what do I do? I’m going to stay here for six months.’
“We took it as a joke and started putting ‘Messi’ and ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ in the locker room.”
“We were both s******g.”
In 2017, the Etihad club attempted to make their dream of signing Messi a reality by making a world-record £100 million offer to Barcelona.
When the Argentine magician signed a new contract at the Nou Camp, City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano was forced to admit defeat.
During the new era at City, Zabaleta would become a fan favorite, making over 330 appearances in nine years.
Before joining West Ham, he won five major awards, including two Premier League titles.