Roque Santa Cruz has urged Manchester City team-mate Stephen Ireland not to turn his back on the Eastlands club amid mounting speculation over the midfielder's future.
Ireland has struggled to find his way into the plans of City manager Roberto Martinez following the Italian's arrival midway through last season. The 23-year-old is just 12 months into a lucrative five-year deal at City but is reportedly eyeing an exit after failing to reproduce the sparkling form he showed during the 2008/09 campaign.
However, Santa Cruz said: "He is a very nice guy and a fantastic player also, so I think everybody at the club would be very disappointed to see him leaving. He is a great talent."
The Paraguay international added: "This season has been hard for him, not finding a starting place in the team, but it is always going to be hard when you are at a team that is always getting new players who start all the time.
"It is very hard for everyone."