After 594 club games over 18 years, the Argentine has hung up his boots following his exit from West Ham
Former Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta has retired from football.
The 35-year-old has been without a club since being released by West Ham at the end of June and has decided to call time on a career that began in the 2002-03 season with San Lorenzo.
“After 18 years as a professional footballer I took the decision to retire from playing football,” Zabaleta said in a social media post.
“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 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!”
— Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta) October 16, 2020
Zabaleta made 594 appearances at club level, starting with San Lorenzo in Argentina before moving to La Liga with Espanyol in 2005.
He joined City in 2008 shortly before the takeover by the Abu Dhabi investment group and went on to become one of the club’s most important players in a nine-year spell, popularly known as a ‘warrior’ figure.
Zabaleta won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and the FA Cup and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2012-13.
Always our warrior.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 16, 2020
He signed for West Ham in 2017 and made a further 73 appearances in England’s top flight, making 10 league appearances in 2019-20 in his final season, which included six starts.
In 303 Premier League games in total, he recorded 953 tackles, the most of any player in the competition since his debut 12 years ago.
A winner of Olympic gold in 2008, Zabaleta won 58 senior caps for Argentina and was part of the side that finished runners-up at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Zabalata would also play in the Copa America for Argentina in 2011 and 2015.