Former Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta announces retirement

Former long-serving Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta has decided to bring the curtain down on his playing career after leaving West Ham over the summer.

Zabaleta joined City on August 31, 2008, a day before they were taken over by Abu Dhabi United Group, ushering in an era of unprecedented success for the north-west club.

The Argentina full-back spent the next nine years at City, making 333 appearances and helping them to Premier League glory in 2011–12 and 2013–14, while they also won the FA Cup in 2011 and the League Cup in 2014 and 2016.

He was a firm fan favourite and labelled a “legend” by City boss Pep Guardiola as he departed the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2017 to move to West Ham, where he made 80 appearances over the course of the next three seasons.

Zabaleta was offered an extension to the end of the disrupted 2019-20 campaign but injury prevented him from accepting. After consultation with his family, the 35-year-old has announced his playing retirement.

He said in a Twitter post: “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 who shared the journey with me; clubs, team-mates, 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.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”