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Olympic hero Zabaleta to join Man City

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Aug 2008

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Espanyol’s Pablo Zabaleta, part of Argentina’s Olympic gold medal-winning team, is to join Manchester City after the English club agreed to pay the eight-million-euro buy-out clause in his contract, the Spanish side said Friday.

“Late on Thursday, Manchester City told RCD Espanyol that it was ready to pay the buy-out clause for Argentine Pablo Zabaleta,” Espanyol, which is based in Barcelona, said on its website.

“Up to the last minute, Espanyol tried to convince Zabaleta to remain in Barcelona, but the defender was determined to continue his career in the Premier League,” the Spanish first division club said.

The 23-year-old right-sided defender is to travel to Manchester Friday for a medical.

Zabaleta was part of the Argentina team that beat Nigeria 1-0 to win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing earlier this month.

Manchester City is owned by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose assets have been frozen as a result of corruption and fraud charges in Thailand.

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