Pablo Zabaleta will leave Manchester City at the end of the season
Manchester City have confirmed yesterday that Pablo Zabaleta will leave the club at the end of the season, ending a nine-year association with the Blues.
Pablo Zabaleta will end his 9-year association with Manchester City when he will leave the club at the end of the season. The official statement on the club’s website read – “The 58-times capped Argentina international is out of contract in the summer and has informed the club he will move to pastures new, but leave behind many happy memories.”
Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod joined City from La Liga side RCD Espanyol for a meagre £6.5 million, prior to the day it was announced that Sheikh Mansour would take over the club. His 9 years at the club saw him becoming one of the fans’ favourites, who showered their affectionate praise, referring him as ‘A true warrior’, ‘A true Mancunian’ etc. Pablo has already secured legendary status at the blue half of Manchester.
He made a total of 332 appearances across all competitions for Manchester City. With Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the start of the season, question marks loomed over the Argentine’s future. But he decided to stay after fruitful talks with the manager.
This season Zabaleta has played just 18 league matches while starting only 12 of them. In total, he started 22 games for City across all competitions. Zabaleta’s penultimate match will be at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday when City host West Bromwich Albion. He will bid good-bye to the sky blue jersey when City meet Watford away next week in the last game of the season.
Zabaleta had already hinted about a possible exit last week in an interview with Sport 360 when he said: “As players, we cannot play for 20 years.”
“I’m not getting any younger and we see new players coming in for the future, that is normal in football, and you have to accept, especially for this club which is so demanding in terms of trying to win trophies.”
Only Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany have been with City longer than Zabaleta – Hart signing in 2006 and Kompany having joined just nine days prior to the Argentinian.
Several reports suggest Zabaleta has reportedly decided to join West Ham United on a two-year-deal although nothing has been confirmed yet.
Zabaleta made his debut in September, 2008, alongside Robinho in a 3-1 loss to Chelsea. Fans of the Premier League will remember him for scoring the first goal of that classic final day league encounter of the 2011-12 season, when City defeated Queens Park Rangers by a 3-2 margin in the dying minutes of the game, to snatch the title from arch-rivals Manchester United. The following campaign, his brilliant performance saw him being voted as the MCFC Player of the Year and secured him a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
His impressive title collection at Manchester City includes –
- 2 Premier League
- 2 EFL Cup
- 2 FA Cup
- 1 FA Community Shield