Zabaleta hits back over exit

New City full-back disappointed by Espanyol critics

Zabaleta: Espanyol anger

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New Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta has responded to criticism from former club Espanyol by saying he never asked to leave the Spanish club.

The Argentina international made a £6.5million move to the Premier League last week and is unhappy with some of the comments by Espanyol since his departure.

The 23-year-old insists he was not angling for a move as the transfer negotiations reached a conclusion while he was away helping Argentina win the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

"I never asked to leave the club," he said in an interview with the COPE Miramar radio station.

Firm offer

"During the Olympic Games I did not want to receive offers but then City expressed an interest.

"It was only a matter of time. The offer was just impossible for the two parties to reject."

Albert Riera has also left the Barcelona-based outfit for England, making an £8m move to Liverpool.

But while Riera has left Espanyol with the club's blessings, Zabaleta feels he has been denied the send-off he deserves having had to head straight to Argentina for their latest World Cup qualifiers.

"I wanted a different goodbye, with a press conference like in the case of Riera, but Argentina have called me up and I can't return to Barcelona," he added.

"I am hurt because some people have said it was an escape and that is not true. In three years I have done my best for Espanyol and I don't merit these critics."