Pablo Zabaleta 'stripped of Manchester City vice-captaincy'

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is said to have dropped Pablo Zabaleta as vice-captain.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has reportedly axed Pablo Zabaleta as the club's vice-captain.

The Argentine acted as stand-in for the injured Vincent Kompany under former boss Roberto Mancini, but the Italian's successor is said to favour Yaya Toure for the role.

Toure has been leading the Sky Blues in Kompany's absence, and Pellegrini's decision to demote Zabaleta is said to have caused friction in the dressing room.

"Some of the players are surprised and disappointed that Pablo has been stripped of the vice-captaincy," a purported inside source told the Daily Star.

"Pablo is the ultimate professional. He is so influential on the pitch and in the dressing room that there was a sense of shock at that.

"He has worked with the manager before so the assumption among the group was that Pablo would continue to wear the armband in Kompany's absence."

Zabaleta was dropped in favour of Micah Richards for last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Sunderland.

Sunderland's Manager, Gustavo Poyet during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Sunderland at KC Stadium on November 02, 2013
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