Tuesday night’s win over West Brom marked the final home game of Pablo Zabaleta’s Manchester City career.
The Argentine joined the Club in 2008, just days before the takeover that would alter our fortunes, and has delivered consistently high performances during his nine-year stint as a Blue.
He’s been key to City winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup – but Zabaleta has proven to be so much more than a brilliant footballer.
He is a huge favourite with the fans, who quickly came to love his passion, commitment and drive to improve. Rarely in the modern game has a player had such a close connection with the supporters.
Here, we sit down with Zabaleta and discuss his time at the Etihad. He recalls the trophies, the great players he’s played alongside and, of course, the succession of head injuries.
It’s perhaps his final thoughts that sum him up best, though.
“I need to appreciate all that I loved in the nine years,” he says.
“My heart is in this city, it’s in this Club, for sure.
“Wearing that shirt was something so special. I know what it means to play for this football Club, and that’s why the fans, thank you for your support, for being always behind the team and I hope you can enjoy in the future more trophies and good moments.
“Thank you so much, from the deepest of my heart.”
Goodbye, Pablo. You mean so much to this Club and its fans.