Zabaleta retires: The cross-generational Manchester City cornerstone

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Pablo Zabaleta announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

Joining Manchester City in 2008 he became one of the most popular players throughout the Citizens’ fan base. Joining at the start of the huge rise of the club thanks to financial investment, whilst some faltered, the Argentine became integral.

Speaking through his Twitter account Zabaleta said, “After 18 years as a professional footballer, I took the decision to retire from playing football.”

“These have been wonderful years that gave me the opportunity to enjoy unique and unforgettable moments.”

“Forever I will thank all the people that shared the journey with me; Clubs, teammates, coaches and in particular my family and all my friends. With a lot of emotions I leave behind one of the best stages of my life.”

The Argentine has not revealed what his post-career plans will be. Be that in punditry or coaching.

Continuity

Signing from Espanyol in 2008, Zabaleta moved to the City of Manchester stadium alongside a host of expensive signings. 24-year-old Brazilian winger Robinho joined from Real Madrid.

Compatriot Jo moved from CSKA Moscow. Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Wayne Bridge, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Shay Given, Vincent Kompany and Tal Ben Haim all arriving too.

Of the selection, only Kompany and Zabaleta would survive through the years of multiple managers and into the league winning sides of Roberto Mancini and Pep Guardiola.

The highlight of the Argentine’s City career came on the club’s most famous day. The 13th May 2012 brought with it a league clash against QPR with just a better result compared to Manchester United’s trip to Sunderland needed to secure the title.

Zabaleta’s goal will most certainly be overshadowed by the events which took place in the dying minutes of the game. However, he still remembers it fondly.

Speaking to The Offside Rule Podcast he said, “At half-time, I thought we should finish 1-0 – and fans would keep watching that game hopefully remembering ‘Zabaleta’s goal that gave Manchester City the first Premier League title for years’.”

Zabaleta finished his career with 2 Premier League medals, an FA Cup, 2 League Cups and a Copa del Rey title.

See also: Manchester City vs Arsenal live streaming: Watch Premier League online, preview, prediction and odds

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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