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Zabaleta to call time on amazing City career

Pablo Zabaleta will leave City at the end of the season, bringing the curtain down on an incredible nine-year association with the Blues.

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.

Fans will have the opportunity to show their appreciation for one of the Club’s most loyal and loved servants of recent times against West Brom on Tuesday evening, which will be Pablo’s last home appearance.

Though there are a number of first-team player contracts currently under consideration, Pablo's situation is the only one that has been fully finalised.

One of the most popular players of recent times, Pablo has been a firm crowd favourite with the City supporters who have resonated with his passion, heart and willingness to put his body on the line time and time again.

With 332 appearances made since his bargain £6.5m move from Espanyol, Zaba joined City the day before it was announced Sheikh Mansour was the Club’s new owner.

Only Joe Hart and  Vincent Kompany have been with the Blues longer - Hart signing in 2006 and Kompany having joined just nine days earlier than the Argentinian.

He made his debut for City in September 2008 – the same day as fellow new arrival Robinho – as Chelsea triumphed 3-1 at the Etihad. He scored his first goal against Wigan Athletic in January 2009.

By that point, the tough-tackling right-back had already cemented his place in the fans’ hearts and would remain a crowd idol throughout his time at the Etihad.

LEGEND: Pablo Zabaleta celebrates with the City faithful

His father was involved in a serious car crash not long before the Blues reached the 2011 FA Cup final and Pablo flew back to Argentina to be by his bedside.

He returned in time for the final and came on as an 88th-minute sub for Carlos Tevez as City ended their 35-year wait for silverware with a 1-0 win over Tony Pulis’ side.

Pablo shared right-back duties with Micah Richards during the 2011/12 campaign but it was his goal that broke the deadlock against QPR as the Blues went on to clinch a dramatic last-day title triumph.

He was voted the MCFC Player of the Year for 2012/13 and captained the Blues several times during Kompany’s absence with injury. At the end of the campaign he was also voted into the PFA Team of the Year.

He would add another Premier League title in 2014 as well as a Capital One Cup victory over Sunderland in his best season yet in terms of silverware and made 48 appearances in all competitions. This season he has played 30 times to date, scoring two goals to make a total of 12 for the Blues.

There will also be plenty of Pablo Zabaleta tributes coming up on mancity.com in the coming days...

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