Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Pablo Zabaleta to leave Manchester City in the summer

Frederick Owens | 26 May, 2017, 10:01

"We have many possibilities".

Zabaleta is one of seven City players out of contract this summer, alongside Willy Caballero, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Tosin Adarabioyo, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas.

Zabaleta, who signed from Espanyol in August 2008, is City's third longest-serving player after Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany.

"Though there are a number of first-team player contracts now under consideration, Pablo's situation is the only one that has been fully finalised", the club said. "He has helped with his teammates at the club to make a step forward, to try to compete to qualify for the Champions League, sometimes to win the Premier League, to be in Europe three or four times in a row, after they had gone 30 years and never been in Europe".

It also promises to be an emotional night with City fans saying farewell to cult hero Pablo Zabaleta on his last appearance at the Etihad Stadium.

For much of a season in which the club sacked two managers, Swansea has looked destined to return to the second tier after a five-season stay in the top flight.

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"Yes it's hard", he admitted. To replace that you need someone who has been here for nine years.

"It's not about taking that player and he has the personality of Zabaleta, no".

City manager Pep Guardiola's decision to leave fit-again top scorer Sergio Aguero on the bench raised eyebrows, but his unchanged line-up overcame Leicester's early resistance to score twice before half-time. We play for a lot of important things, so they have to come to support us more than ever and to express the gratitude to one of the most important players in the whole history of Manchester City. It's a frustrating thing to talk about because we can't get involved in the debate.

"I remember at that time Sir Alex Ferguson talking about the "noisy neighbours". Sure. At the clubs I worked at before, I am not here, but here we have a second chance". I thought if they call us the noisy neighbours then let's make more noise in the city. We missed the chances to nearly finish the game. "We are trying to finish the two games good and get what the club deserves".

"Zabba will always be remembered for his tackles and for all his cuts and bruises", he said.

In the battle for south coast bragging rights Southampton beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Saturday with goals by Jay Rodriguez and Nathan Redmond keeping them above Bournemouth who beat Burnley 2-1 thanks to Joshua King's late victor.

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