Zabaleta returns to City
Pablo Zabaleta has been forced to cut short his international commitments with Argentina.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 09/10/09 2:09pm
Pablo Zabaleta has been forced to cut short his international commitments with Argentina and is heading back to Manchester City.
The defender had travelled to South America earlier this week ahead of two crucial World Cup qualifiers, despite carrying a slight hamstring complaint.
He had been hoping to make his first appearances for his country since the 2008 Olympics, with make-or-break contests against Peru and Uruguay lying ahead for Diego Maradona's side.
However, the 24-year-old is not considered fit enough for selection and has been returned to Eastlands in order to gain some rest.
"Pablo is coming back this evening (Friday)," said City boss Mark Hughes.
"He's been with the Argentinian FA, who have checked him out, as after the game last Monday (against Aston Villa) he said that he had felt something with the last kick of the game.
"He'd felt a slight strain in the hamstring but he needed to travel to Argentina to get it verified.
"Pablo's not played that many games, and there is always a danger that this kind of thing might happen to someone who, like Pablo, has not played as much as others.
"It's a disappointment for him. Argentina have two crucial games and he wanted to be part of that, but it wasn't to be.
"He's played very well of late and that was flagged to the powers that be in Argentina.
"It would have been great for him to get the recognition for his good form, but it is unfortunate that he's going to miss out.
"He'll be back today and once we get him scanned, hopefully it will not be as bad as feared.
"But as it stands you have to say that there is a real doubt that he would be available for our game next weekend (against Wigan)."