Former Man City defender Zabaleta retires

London (AFP) –


Former Manchester City and Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta announced his retirement on Friday.

Zabaleta left West Ham at the end of last season and has decided to bring the curtain down on his successful 18-year career.

The 35-year-old full-back joined City from Espanyol in 2008 and played his part in an era of unprecedented glory for the Premier League club.

Zabaleta spent nine years at City, making 333 appearances and helping them win the Premier League in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

Capped 58 times by Argentina, Zabaleta also won the FA Cup in 2011 and the League Cup in 2014 and 2016.

Zabaleta was a favourite of City fans and the club's manager Pep Guardiola called him a "legend" when he joined West Ham in 2017.

He made 80 appearances for the Hammers and was offered an extension to the end of the disrupted 2019-20 campaign but injury prevented him from accepting.

"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," Zabaleta wrote on Twitter.

"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!"