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|Birthday||January 16, 1985|
Spurning a switch to Juventus, Zabaleta left Espanyol for Manchester City for a fee of around £6.5 million just before the close of the transfer market in August 2008.
He began his career back home with San Lorenzo – where he won the Copa Sudamericana – before moving to La Liga in 2005 for £2 million. That move came shortly after he captained Argentina to the FIFA U-20 World Cup title.
Zabaleta was part of the Espanyol team that lost on penalties to Sevilla in the UEFA Cup final in 2007, having already won the King’s Cup in 2006.
Capable of playing at right back, left back, right midfield or in the holding role, Zabaleta was ever-present in the Argentina side that won the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
He has become popular among the fans at City for his committed performances, and his versatility has made him a valuable member of the squad.
Strengths: Versatile, comfortable on the ball and a very determined competitor.
Weaknesses: His defensive abilities have been called into question.
Career high: The Beijing Olympics success in 2008.
Career low: Missing out on a place in Diego Maradona’s squad for the 2010 World Cup.
Style: Determined and versatile defensive player.
Quotes: “You look at our squad and you know we can do something important, but I also think we have to keep quiet about it.” – Pablo Zabaleta, July 2010
Trivia: Zabaleta helped team-mate Carlos Tevez to learn English following his move from city rivals Manchester United in 2009.