Pablo Zabaleta Announces Retirement From Football

Pablo Zabaleta
Pablo Zabaleta has retired from playing football | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Former Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabalata has announced his retirement and brought an end to a playing career which brought two Premier League titles.

The 35-year-old left West Ham United during the summer, having featured in just 13 games in all competition during the 2019/20 season, and has now decided to hang up his boots.

"After 18 years as a professional footballer, I took the decision to retire from playing football," he confirmed on Twitter. "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 this journey with me; Clubs, team-mates, coaches and in particular my family and all my friends. With a lot of emotion, I leave behind one of the best stages of my life."

Zabaleta began his career in his homeland of Argentina with San Lorenzo, spending two years as a senior at the club before moving to Europe with Espanyol in 2005.

After three years in Spain, Zabaleta's career moved to a new level as he joined Manchester City in a deal worth close to £7m just a day before the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group.

Despite the vast influx of money at City, Zabaleta's place in the team rarely seemed under threat. He was an integral part of the side that brought City their first Premier League title in 2012, scoring the first goal in the famous 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers that delivered the trophy to the Etihad Stadium.

Zabaleta would go on to win another league title in the 2013/14 season, and by the time he left City, he'd also lifted one FA Cup, two League Cups and the Community Shield.

The Argentine racked up 333 appearances for City and was rewarded for his nine years of service with a lifetime season ticket and a commemorative shirt when he left the club at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta enjoyed plenty of success in Manchester | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A move to West Ham followed, and the 37 Premier League appearances Zabaleta made in his debut campaign was the highest he ever managed in a single season in the division.

He spent three seasons with the Hammers before walking away during the summer, and Zabaleta has now said goodbye to professional football.

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