PABLO ZABALETA has revealed he used to CHAUFFEUR Lionel Messi around Barcelona.
That’s after being asked to “please take care of him” by the ace’s concerned father.
Manchester City legend Zabaleta made the revelation in an upcoming BBC show documenting Messi’s rise from diminutive kid to global football superstar.
Examining the now-PSG star’s humble beginnings, the film reveals the struggles Messi had to go through on his journey to stardom.
From being deemed too small to succeed, to swapping Argentina for Spain at the age of 12, Messi had to fight for his success.
But he was also helped along the way by various figures – including compatriot Zabaleta.
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Playing for Barcelona’s city rivals Espanyol between 2005 and 2008, Zabaleta admits Jorge Messi asked him to look after Lionel as much as possible.
It saw Zabaleta end up driving the forward to restaurants and other social occasions.
But the Etihad icon did not mind one bit, knowing he was in care of the world’s brightest talents.
Zabaleta said: “He had some friends but he was shy and I felt like I need to look after him and make sure he was good and surrounded by nice people.
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“In football, when you become a star everyone wants to be your friend.
“I used to take him to restaurants and his father said ‘please take care of him’.
“It was like having 80million euros next to me, but the main thing was to drop Messi off at his safe house.”
Messi ended up scoring 672 times for Barcelona in 778 games.
He won numerous trophies including 10 titles and four Champions Leagues.
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Messi is now being linked with a return to Barcelona.
But reports also claim he could find himself tempted by a move to America with Inter Miami.
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