Pablo Zabaleta

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Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta Capitan.PNG
Zabaleta with Manchester City in 2010
Personal information
Full name Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod[1]
Date of birth (1985-01-16) 16 January 1985 (age 33)[2]
Place of birth Buenos Aires, Argentina[2]
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in)[3]
Playing position Right back
Club information
Current team
West Ham United
Number 5
Youth career
1995–1997 Obras Sanitarias
1997–2002 San Lorenzo
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2005 San Lorenzo 66 (8)
2005–2008 Espanyol 79 (3)
2008–2017 Manchester City 230 (9)
2017– West Ham United 37 (0)
National team
2003–2005 Argentina U20 28 (4)
2008 Argentina U23 9 (0)
2005– Argentina 58 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:48, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20:58, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod (American Spanish: [ˈpaβlo saβaˈleta]; born 16 January 1985[2]) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a right back for West Ham United and the Argentina national team. Zabaleta can operate on both sides of the pitch as a full back and is known for his tenacious style of play, and has captained his club on numerous occasions.

With Manchester City, Zabaleta has won all of English football's major honours: the FA Cup (2011), the Premier League (2012 and 2014), and the Football League Cup (2014 and 2016). Before joining Manchester City, Zabaleta played for La Liga club RCD Espanyol, where he won the 2005–06 Copa del Rey.[4]

A full international since 2005, Zabaleta represented Argentina at the 2011 and 2015 Copa América, and was part of their team which finished as runners-up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was also in their team which won gold at the 2008 Olympics.

Club career[edit]

San Lorenzo[edit]

Born in Buenos Aires, Zabaleta was raised in Arrecifes. He began his career at Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro in 2002 after progressing through their youth ranks, having been signed at the age of 12 from local club Obras Sanitarias. He started playing as a defensive midfielder but eventually moved to the right side of midfield.


Zabaleta was transferred to Espanyol in 2005 for €3 million after being Argentina under-20s captain in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, which Argentina won. During the 2005–06 season, Zabaleta helped Espanyol to win the Copa del Rey, playing the full 90 minutes in the 4–1 defeat of Real Zaragoza in the final.[5]

In January 2007, Zabaleta suffered a shoulder injury that kept him off the pitch for almost three months, already having established himself as an undisputed first team choice. Later in the season, he featured in the 2006–07 UEFA Cup final, where Espanyol lost on penalties to fellow Spanish side Sevilla.

Manchester City[edit]

2008–09 season[edit]

Zabaleta playing for Manchester City in 2009

In the summer of 2008, Zabaleta transferred to Premier League club Manchester City after rejecting an offer from Juventus. He stated upon joining that "the offer of Manchester City is impossible to reject."[6] Having passed a medical and agreed personal terms, Zabaleta completed a five-year deal with City on 31 August 2008 for an undisclosed fee, believed to be the buy-out clause Zabaleta had attached to his contract of around £6.45 million.[5] Zabaleta joined a day before Manchester City was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group, led by Sheikh Mansour, which enabled a wealth of investment in the club.

On 13 September 2008, Zabaleta made his debut for Manchester City in a 1–3 defeat to Chelsea at the City of Manchester Stadium. On 5 October, he received his first red card in English football when he was sent off in a 2–3 loss to Liverpool in his fourth Premier League appearance. He scored his first goal for City on 17 January 2009, the only goal of the game in a 1–0 league win over Wigan Athletic.[7]

2010–11 season[edit]

On 21 November 2010, Zabaleta scored his second Premier League goal in Manchester City's 4–1 win against Fulham. In the same match, he assisted a Carlos Tevez goal, helping his compatriot to earn his ninth goal for the club during the 2010–11 season.[8]

On 1 January 2011, Zabaleta played his 100th game for Manchester City in all competitions, coming off the bench against Blackpool in a 1–0 win at Eastlands. Two weeks later, on 15 January, Zabaleta made his second assist of the season in a 4–3 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.[9] This win meant that City went top of the league above local rivals Manchester United. However, City's title challenge faded with a loss of form in February and March 2011.

On 1 May 2011, Zabaleta scored his second goal of the season in a Premier League match against West Ham United. This secured a 2–1 win for the Citizens and put them seven points ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for fourth place.[10]

On 14 May 2011, Zabaleta appeared as an 88th-minute substitute for Carlos Tevez in the 2011 FA Cup Final as Manchester City beat Stoke City 1–0.[11]

2011–12 season[edit]

In the summer of 2011, it was reported that Italian club Roma were keen on signing Zabaleta, but Manchester City insisted the player was not for sale[12] and Zabaleta agreed a three-year contract in July 2011. On 1 October 2011, Zabaleta started and played the full 90 minutes at right back in a 4–0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the Premier League, as regular starter Micah Richards was not available. On 23 October, he was an unused substitute in the convincing 1–6 win over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Richards starting at right-back.[13]

In November 2011, Zabaleta extended his contract with City until the summer of 2015. Zabaleta said, "I'm in a very good team, and I try to do my best for the club, the team and the fans. I didn't think twice, I gave a quick answer because I was so happy to sign."[14][15] In his first three-and-a-half years at the club, Zabaleta emerged as a cult hero amongst the Manchester City fans who admire his never-say-die attitude and commitment to the club.

On 30 April 2012, he started and played the full 90 minutes in the right-back slot in a 1–0 victory over rivals Manchester United thanks to a first-half stoppage time header by Vincent Kompany from a corner at the City of Manchester Stadium. Zabaleta scored the first goal in City's dramatic 3–2 win over Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season, a result which secured the first league title for the club since 1968.[16]

2012–13 season[edit]

Zabaleta and Álvaro Negredo with the trophy after the 2014 Football League Cup Final

On 9 December 2012, Zabaleta scored late equalising goal in a 3–2 defeat to Manchester United. On New Year's Day, he scored the opening goal in a 3–0 win at the City of Manchester Stadium over Stoke City, doubling his goal tally from the previous season. On 25 January 2013, Zabaleta scored his third goal of the season and the only goal of the match in a 1–0 win away against Stoke City in the FA Cup, fourth round. His goal took Manchester City through to the fifth round.

Zabaleta was voted Manchester City's Player of the Month for both December 2012[17] and January 2013,[18] and was stand-in captain for the club during Vincent Kompany's injury absence between January and March 2013.[19] He was the only City player to be named in the 2012–13 Premier League PFA Team of the Year.[20] After a superb season, Zabaleta was voted 2012–13 Manchester City Player of the Year.[21]

Zabaleta was sent off in the 2013 FA Cup Final against Wigan Athletic for a second yellow card after a clear foul on Callum McManaman 84 minutes into the match. Wigan went on to win 1–0 through a Ben Watson goal in stoppage time. He was the third player to be sent off in an FA Cup final and first for the losing side.

2013–14 season[edit]

On 2 March 2014, Zabaleta played the full 90 minutes as Manchester City beat Sunderland 3–1 in the 2014 Football League Cup Final to complete a full set of major honours in English football.[22] On 21 April, he scored his first goal of the season in a 3–1 defeat of West Bromwich Albion at the City of Manchester Stadium.[23] On 11 May, Zabaleta was part of the victory against West Ham that won Manchester City the Premier League, his second in three seasons.

2014–15 season[edit]

On 21 September 2014, Zabaleta was sent off for a second yellow card due to a challenge on Chelsea's Diego Costa. Both players received a yellow card, Zabaleta for the initial challenge and Costa for his reaction.

2015–16 season[edit]

On 21 August 2015, it was announced that Zabaleta was out for a month with knee injury.[24] On 17 January 2016, Zabaleta reached 200 appearances for Manchester City in the club's 4–0 victory over Crystal Palace.[25]

2016-17 season[edit]

Zabaleta made 32 appearances in all competitions in the 2016–17 season scoring two goals; against Watford in the Premier League and against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup. His final appearance for Manchester City came on 16 May 2017, a 3–1 home win against West Bromwich Albion.[26] After the game he was praised by City manager, Pep Guardiola, as a "legend".[27] Zabaleta was given a lifetime season ticket for Manchester City and a shirt that read “Zabaleta 333”, to mark the number of City appearances.[28]

West Ham United[edit]

2017–18 season[edit]

On 26 May 2017, it was announced that Zabaleta had signed for Premier League club West Ham United on a free transfer, agreeing to a two-year contract. He was given number five as his squad number.[29]

International career[edit]

Zabaleta battling Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal in a 2011 friendly

At the age of 14, Zabaleta was called up by Hugo Tocalli to the Argentina under-15 squad. He took part in many youth tournaments, including the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2003 and 2005, winning the latter in the Netherlands. He received over 75 caps to national youth sides, and started representing the senior side in 2005. He was also a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, starting at right back and playing all six matches.

After the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for which Zabaleta was not selected by head coach Diego Maradona, under the new Argentina manager he has established himself as first choice right back. On 1 June 2011, Zabaleta captained Argentina for the first time in a friendly against Nigeria.

In June 2014, Zabaleta was named in Argentina's squad for the 2014 World Cup.[30] He made his World Cup debut in Argentina's 2–1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Estádio do Maracanã, playing the full match in defence.[31]

At the 2015 Copa América in Chile, Zabaleta sent in the cross from which his Manchester City teammate Sergio Agüero headed the only goal of the game as Argentina defeated holders Uruguay in their second group match.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Zabaleta was born in Buenos Aires, to a family of Basque descent.[33] His father, Jorge, introduced him to football when he was young. Zabaleta's mother died while he was young at age 15.[34] Zabaleta has a tattoo on his chest which bears the name of his mother.[35] In 2011, he was given indefinite leave by Manchester City as his father was in intensive care after a car accident in his native Argentina.

On 14 June 2013, Zabaleta married his Spanish long-standing girlfriend Christel Castaño. Castaño gave birth to the couple's first child, a son named Asier, on 4 April 2015 at St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester.

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 13 May 2018[36]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Continental[nb 2] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
San Lorenzo 2002–03 Argentine Primera División 11 0 1 0 12 0
2003–04 27 3 3 0 30 3
2004–05 28 5 9 0 37 5
Total 66 8 0 0 13 0 79 8
Espanyol 2005–06 La Liga 27 2 1 0 7 0 35 2
2006–07 20 0 2 0 9 0 31 0
2007–08 32 1 4 0 36 1
Total 79 3 7 0 16 0 102 3
Manchester City 2008–09 Premier League 29 1 2 0 11 0 42 1
2009–10 27 0 8 0 35 0
2010–11 26 1 8 0 11 0 45 1
2011–12 21 1 5 0 5 0 31 1
2012–13 30 2 7 1 5 0 42 3
2013–14 35 1 7 0 6 0 48 1
2014–15 29 1 1 0 6 1 36 2
2015–16 13 0 6 0 3 0 22 0
2016–17 19 1 5 1 7 0 31 2
Total 229 8 49 2 54 1 332 11
West Ham United 2017–18 Premier League 37 0 2 0 39 0
Career total 411 19 58 2 83 1 552 22


Zabaleta with the FA Cup on Manchester City's 2011 victory parade (Portland Street, May 2011)

San Lorenzo de Almagro


Manchester City

Argentina Youth



  1. ^ "List of Players under Written Contract Registered Between 01/08/2013 and 31/08/2013" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "5 Pablo Zabaleta". Manchester City FC Ltd. 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta". West Ham United Football Club. Retrieved 12 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta". Eurosport. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Taylor, Daniel (29 August 2008). "Zabaleta rejects Juventus in favour of move to 'paradise'". The Guardian. London. 
  6. ^ Ladyman, Ian (29 August 2008). "Espanyol's Zabaleta turns down Juventus to join Man City for £6.5m". Daily Mail. London. 
  7. ^ Bevan, Chris (17 January 2009). "Man City 1–0 Wigan". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Fulham 1–4 Manchester City". ESPN Soccernet. 21 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Manchester 4–3 Wolves". ESPN Soccernet. 15 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Manchester City 2–1 West Ham". ESPN Soccernet. 1 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Gibbs, Thom (14 May 2011). "FA Cup final 2011: Manchester City v Stoke City live". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Roma to launch £6m Zabaleta bid, but Manchester City unwilling to sell Argentina defender". Daily Mail. London. 14 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "Zabaleta agrees three-year deal". The Independent. London. 23 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Going places! Johnson hails City ambition as he joins Zabaleta in agreeing new deal". Daily Mail. London. 18 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "City tie down Johnson and Zabaleta". UEFA. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  16. ^ Custis, Shaun. "Man City 3 QPR 2". The Sun. London. 
  17. ^ "Zabaleta is Etihad Player of the Month". Manchester City F.C. 7 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Zabaleta voted Etihad Player of the Month". Manchester City F.C. 11 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "Mind games: Manchester City are missing United's winning mentality, admits Pablo Zabaleta". The Mirror. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Gareth Bale wins PFA Player of Year and Young Player awards". BBC Sport. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta is Manchester City Player of the Year". Manchester City F.C. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "Man City 3–1 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 2 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Man City 3–1 West Brom". BBC. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta out for month with knee injury". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 21 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  25. ^ "Zabaleta proud to be 'half Mancunian' after 200th City appearance". 17 January 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta - Football Stats - West Ham - Age 32 - Soccer Base". 
  27. ^ "Manchester City's Guardiola praises 'legend' Zabaleta after West Brom win – video". 17 May 2017 – via The Guardian. 
  28. ^ Stadium, Jamie Jackson at the Etihad (16 May 2017). "Manchester City bid farewell to Pablo Zabaleta after crucial West Brom win" – via The Guardian. 
  29. ^ "Joint-Chairman hails 'supreme professional' Zabaleta". West Ham United Official Site. Retrieved 26 May 2017. 
  30. ^ "Demichelis in Argentina squad as trio miss out". FIFA. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "Argentina 2–1 Bos-Herce". BBC. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Argentina 1–0 Uruguay". BBC. 17 June 2015. 
  33. ^ "El delantero uruguayo Diego Forlán, su abuela vasca, y sus deseos de fichar por el Athlétic Club de Bilbao". 
  34. ^ "Football's helped since death of mum says Pablo Zabaleta". The Mirror. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  35. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta espera duro partido para Argentina contra Holanda". EcoDiario. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  36. ^ "P. Zabaleta". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  37. ^ "Pablo Zabaleta: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  38. ^ "Gareth Bale wins PFA Player of Year and Young Player awards". BBC Sport. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  39. ^ "Awards time for Craig and Pablo". Manchester City FC. 9 March 2009. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  40. ^ "Etihad Player of the Month: Pablo Zabaleta". Manchester City FC. Retrieved 2015-07-16. 
  41. ^ "Etihad Player of the Month: Pablo Zabaleta". Manchester City FC. Retrieved 2015-07-16. 
  42. ^ "FifPro announces reserve Teams of the Year - but Luis Suarez and Arjen Robben won't be laughing while Iker Casillas is somehow named the second best goalkeeper of 2013". 15 January 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  43. ^ "FIFA FIFPro World XI: the reserve teams - FIFPro World Players' Union". 15 January 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 

External links[edit]