5 years from the day that Pablo Zabaleta lobbed Paddy Kenny to fire City in front on a day which marked the end of 44 years without a league title, news has been broken to the world that the Argentine will indeed be leaving the club for pastures anew. Having been second choice for much of last season, and unable to cement a starting role this season, it seemed inevitable that his days in City’s Sky Blue were numbered. Even before January, all Cityzens had an apprehension that they could have to come to grips with their Mancunian soldier and the empire he has long served going their separate ways. Today sees that morbid dread take life.
Zabaleta signed for City a day before Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at the club, and every single day thereafter the bond between the supporters and the man has strengthened. He isn’t just a defender. He’s someone who has happily and willingly put every ounce of blood, sweat and tears to the club, even putting his body on the line on countless occasions to ensure that City’s defence was not breached. He is one of City’s best ever signings, making 332 appearances, scoring 12 goals, providing countless assists, making endless overlapping runs and terrorising innumerable full backs with his desire to get forward. He has also won 2 Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a Community Shield and 2 League Cups.
But it’s not his accolades that will define his time at Manchester City. It’s his passion, his vigour, his desire to run till the final whistle, his enthusiasm, his bravery, and his never ending love for the blue half of Manchester that made him such a special player. I have never seen any player loved and venerated as much as Zabaleta has been over the years, and I will say it here – No matter who is brought in to fill the right full back slot, there will always be an unfillable void left in every City fan’s heart caused by the departure of one of the most loyal servers Manchester City Football Club will ever see.
City loves you more than you will ever know. Here’s to Pablo Zabaleta – The man himself. A defender by designation, a warrior by nature.