Could Manchester City star be auditioning for a move to Barcelona?

Pablo Zabaleta Giant Flag

Manchester City take on Barcelona in the Champions League tomorrow night, but one star could attract the interest of the Catalan giants.

Manuel Pellegrini's side is full of stars that Barcelona could feasibly be interested in, from centre back Vincent Kompany to former Barca midfielder Yaya Toure, as well as former La Liga stars David Silva and striker Sergio Aguero.

But an underrated player in the Manchester City operation is full back Pablo Zabaleta. Often overshadowed by the immense quality in the attacking third, Zabaleta has been a consistent performer at right back at the Etihad Stadium, making the position his own and forcing former England prodigy Micah Richards to sit on the sidelines.

The Argentine international has now established himself as one of the top right backs in world football, but could he make a move back to Barcelona in the near future?

Zabaleta, 29, arrived in Manchester from Barcelona-based La Liga side Espanyol in 2008, but has been linked with a return to the Catalan capital for some time now, with some rumours even suggesting that Zabaleta rejected a move to the Camp Nou in 2012, and City offered him a new deal as a reward.

But with Dani Alves' contract expiring in 2015, it seems likely that Barcelona will not only eye up a replacement for the Brazilian, but could possibly look to sell him this summer in order to prevent losing him for nothing in just over a year's time.

The Champions League games against Barcelona could serve as something of an audition for Zabaleta, with Argentine manager Gerardo Martino looking to improve his defence in the summer. Should Zabaleta impress and help nullify the threats of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez, another bid from Barca could arrive this summer – but whether Zabaleta would change his mind just two years after turning the move down remains to be seen.

image: © smabs sputzer

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