Manchester City fans love Pablo Zabaleta, and with good reason.
A warrior in a sky-blue shirt, the Argentina right-back leaves blood, sweat and tears on the pitch at the end of each game, something which the Etihad faithful have noticed.
He’s also an excellent defender. In his pomp, he was rightly considered the best right-back in the Premier League, and has picked up two titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup during his time in Manchester.
He also absolutely loves Manchester – even the weather. In his hometown of Buenos Aires, it’s currently around 25ºC, but the glorious northern city of Manchester is famous for its fair share of rain. And Zabaleta can’t get enough of it.
“This place has definitely changed me,” he told FourFourTwo about his adopted home.
“When I go on holiday to Spain for a month in the summer with the family, or somewhere with more sunshine, I find that I miss all the rain in Manchester. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.”
And the way Zabaleta taught himself English will endear him to City fans even more.
When he arrived here nine years ago from Espanyol, Zabaleta threw himself head-first into Manchester life.
And it shows. Quoted in the Daily Star, Zabaleta revealed how he took to the English language so readily.
“It was very important for me to learn English as soon as I got here,” he said.
“The first thing my teacher said to me was to watch BBC News. I know it sounds boring, but the presenters talk at a slower pace, which helps you to pick up new words and phrases.
“I watched The X Factor and a few episodes of Coronation Street – but not too many.”