Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that Pep Guardiola had a big influence on his decision to stay at the club. Speaking to ESPN Radio (via La Nación) during his international break, the player was asked about the manager’s arrival.

“Guardiola convinced me to stay. It was rumoured a lot about my departure because of a problem in my ankle. I waited a lot to have surgery and maybe that was my mistake.

“I made a lot of mistakes, my ankle told me it was enough and I had a season hit by injuries and with little rhythm.

“With a new coach, my name was on the list of possible departures. But the club never hinted me anything.

“I think Guardiola will make the club have a step forward because he’s one of the greatest managers. If he decided to come here, it’s because he saw potential to have the success he wants for the coming years.”

Zabaleta is expected to start against Venezuela tonight alongside his teammate Nicola Otamendi. His Premier League rivals Sergio Romero, Ramiro Funes Mori and Marcos Rojo will all be part of the back five as well.

The 31 year old is still going strong at both club and country level, and there’s little reason that should end soon.