Zabaleta: Bale is the best player in the Premier League

The Manchester City right-back believes the Spurs attacker is a "force of nature", and also thinks Mario Balotelli’s departure from Eastlands was inevitable after a difficult spell
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes Gareth Bale is the best player in the Premier League.

The Spurs attacker has been in sparkling form, and after coming up against the ex-Southampton man earlier in the season, he thinks Bale is the standout player in England.

25/1 Gareth Bale is 25/1 with Paddy Power to win the 2013 Fifa Ballon d'Or
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The best Premier League player? Gareth Bale, a force of nature."

Zabaleta also says that Mario Balotelli's exit was inevitable. The 22-year-old has been in blistering form for Milan, netting seven times in six matches for the Serie A giants, but the 28-year-old believes off-field activities were impacting the Italian's career.

He added: "I think Balotelli's departure was inevitable. It had become a difficult situation.

"Mario is a great player, who must learn to better manage his life off the field. He should be more disciplined and quiet. Returning to Italy and staying near to his family is helping him."

Finally, despite sitting 15 points local rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, Zabaleta is happy with City manager Roberto Mancini, and says he is approachable about any subject.

He continued: "My relationship with Mancini is great. You can talk with him not only about football, but also life problems.

"We [City] must grow as a group and in mentality. United have built a winning culture over the last 20 years, while City's project is at the beginning."