MANCHESTER CITY legend Pablo Zabaleta has revealed how his ex-teammates joked they would play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after the takeover.
The Premier League side became one of the richest clubs in world football overnight when billionaire Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008.
They wasted no time in signaling their intentions by breaking the UK transfer record to land Robinho for £32.5million.
A host of huge money signings would follow over the years, including Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Yaya Toure.
And Zabaleta, who was the club’s last signing before the takeover, claimed the rest of the dressing room were nervous about his future.
He told La Nacion last year: “Ten days after my arrival, the purchase of the club by the people of Abu Dhabi is executed.
“Four days later they’re investing £40m for Robinho and there I said, ‘Now what do I do? I will last six months here”.
“We took it a bit as a joke and… in the locker room we started putting ‘Messi’, ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. We didn’t give a damn about it ourselves.”
The Etihad club tried to fulfill their dream of signing Messi in 2017 by offering Barca a record £100m move.
But City chief executive Ferran Soriano was forced to admit defeat when the Argentine magician signed a new contract at Camp Nou.
Zabaleta would become a heavy favorite during the new era at City, making over 330 appearances in nine years.
He won five major pieces of silverware including two Premier League titles before joining West Ham.
the-sun : Man City players believed club would sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after takeover, reveals Pablo Zabaleta – The US Sun