Pablo Zabaleta’s return to Manchester City was never going to be a hostile one.
The Argentine, who signed for West Ham in May, became a popular figure at the club during his nine seasons at the Etihad Stadium and he received a rousing reception from those who once cheered his name.
“It was really good, really nice to be back in front of the City fans. I have seen the lads, the staff and everyone,” Zabaleta said after the match, which West Ham lost 2-1, per the Manchester Evening News.
“Of course I was a little upset because I thought we did great and were so close to getting at least one point. We showed much better discipline as a team and now we need to move on.”
Zabaleta played 90 minutes as David Silva’s late goal secured the 20th consecutive win in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Man City made sure to remember the 32-year-old’s fine service - he made more than 300 appearances and won the Premier League title in 2012 and 2014 - with a tweet before kick-off.
There was an awkward moment
Yet there was one rather embarrassing moment for Zabaleta.
It came when he asked young Man City fans in the tunnel before kick-off whether they missed him.
“Missing me or no?” Zabaleta asks the supporters as he jogs through the tunnel.
One Man City fan can quite clearly be heard yelling: “No!”
Check it out below.
Zabaleta tweeted afterward the match
Zabaleta thanked Man City supporters for the warm reception he received on Twitter after the match.
“Great to be back at the Etihad Stadium and good to see @ManCity fans again,” he wrote. “Thank you very much for your warm reception 💙”.
The right-back will surely watch as his former side travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Sunday.
Man City lead their rivals by eight points and many are ready to hand them the Premier League title - but not Zabaleta.
“There's still a long way to go,” he added.
“The gap between them and the rest is big at the moment but the Premier League is hard and hopefully they are big contenders for the title.
“I hope they win it.”
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