Pablo Zabaleta announces retirement from football

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Pablo Zabaleta has retired from football after 18 years.

The former Argentina and Manchester City right back has announced his retirement from football at 35 years of age. Zabaleta first started his career with San Lorenzo in 2002 where he later joined Espanyol in 2005, spending three years at the club. He would win the Copa del Rey in his first season.

Zabaleta would join Manchester City in 2008 and become a pillar in the back line. Playing over 300 matches for the club, the Argentine would win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two league cups and a Community Shield during his time at the club.

He would join West Ham for three years before announcing his retirement.

With the Argentina national team, Zabaleta would win the 2005 U20 World Cup and also 2008 Olympic gold. As he did with his clubs, Zabaleta was the unsung hero of the back line as he was part of the Argentina team reached the final of the 2014 World Cup. He would play 58 matches for Argentina.

Thank you for everything Pablo.

85 Comments

  1. I don’t know what happened to me but I got reminded of something when I was having my food. It got so intense that I had to leave it and I just washed my hands and laid down on my bed. The thought was like an epiphany, it just came out of nowhere and I couldn’t help myself but to think about it and just think about it again. On the other hand my mom shouted from the dining table, I mean, you know she’s a religious person and she believed that leaving food in midway was very bad for oneself and family too. In simple words, it brings unnecessary ill happenings to the family. But never in this world I knew what ill she meant, sometimes I would do that intentionally and other times when I really felt that the food is bogus. Much to my likings and my mood, my works and productivity depended and which means that I didn’t have to give reasons to anyone or my family for everytime I missed my food or works. They understood it but with a lot of stress and yellings you know.

    Anyways, this time, the reason was wholely different. You might say that I was silly to commit such an act for such a trivial thought but at the same time you would have laughed your fart off and I wouldn’t be angry or felt embarrassed by it cause it was that bizzare. But my thought was serious and it had to be, even after hearing the banging of utensils on the table. And what bothered me all this time and what exactly killed my hunger so fast was how, on this magnificent earth, was Boca juniors able to finance and sell bentancur, nandez and many other non argentines so easily as compared to argentines. This clubs being so bad at buisness was still able to use their calibre to make quick, smooth and spongy sells of these players but not Argentinians.
    This is it.
    And I’m still in the same position on my bed, writing this. And also my mom had put the food in the fridge, locked it and had dozed off. I don’t know what shall I feed myself on.

    IT IS JUST BIZZARE……

  2. Thought I could make a list of Arg players playing in different leagues. Today, it’s just La Liga & Serie A. Will update later.

    LA LIGA (12 Clubs, 25 Players)
    1. Atletico Madrid (1)
    FW- Ángel Correa
    2. Barcelona (1)
    FW- Lionel Messi
    3. Cadiz (3)
    GK- Jeremías Ledesma
    DF- Marcos Mauro
    MF- Augusto Fernández
    4. Deportivo Alaves (1)
    MF- Rodrigo Battaglia
    5. Eibar (1)
    DF- Esteban Burgos
    6. Elche (6)
    GK- Diego Rodríguez
    DF- Juan Sánchez Miño
    MF- Iván Marcone
    FW- Lucas Boyé
    FW- Guido Carrillo
    FW- Emiliano Rigoni
    7. Getafe (1)
    GK- Leandro Chichizola
    8. Granada (1)
    DF- Nehuén Pérez
    9. Osasuna (3)
    DF- Facundo Roncaglia
    FW- Chimy Ávila
    FW- Jonathan Calleri
    10. Real Betis (1)
    MF- Guido Rodríguez
    11. Sevilla (3)
    DF- Marcos Acuña
    MF- Franco Vázquez
    FW- Lucas Ocampos
    12. Villarreal (3)
    GK- Gerónimo Rulli
    DF- Ramiro Funes Mori
    DF- Juan Foyth

    SERIE A (14 Clubs, 26 Players)
    1. AC Milan (1)
    DF- Mateo Musacchio
    2. Atalanta (3)
    DF- José Luis Palomino
    DF- Cristian Romero
    FW- Alejandro Gómez
    3. Bologna (3)
    DF- Nehuén Paz
    MF- Nicolás Domínguez
    FW- Rodrigo Palacio
    4. Cagliari (1)
    FW- Giovanni Simeone
    5. Fiorentina (2)
    DF- Germán Pezzella
    DF- Lucas Martínez Quarta
    6. Hellas Verona (1)
    DF- Bruno Amione
    7. Inter Milan (1)
    FW- Lautaro Martínez
    8. Juventus (1)
    FW- Paulo Dybala
    9. Lazio (2)
    MF- Gonzalo Escalante
    FW- Joaquín Correa
    10. Parma (2)
    DF- Lautaro Valenti
    MF- Juan Brunetta
    11. Roma (2)
    DF- Federico Fazio
    MF- Javier Pastore
    12. Spezia (1)
    MF- Nahuel Estévez
    13. Torina (1)
    DF- Cristian Ansaldi
    14. Udinese (5)
    GK- Juan Musso
    DF- Nahuel Molina
    MF- Rodrigo De Paul
    MF- Roberto Pereyra
    FW- Ignacio Pussetto

  3. Legend. Such a class act for club and country. Gave his all, an absolute warrior. Like Dfox1942 says, i too always felt confident seeing him in the lineup. Maybe we’ll get to see him return to the public eye one day as part of coaching staff.

    Arg 1 – 0 Uruguay (Messi > Pastore > Zabaleta > Kun)
    youtube.com/watch?v=14eUBgwb-so

  4. Was watching the Atlanta game. I get a feeling the Papu and Messi can be a lethal combination. Initially, Messi created havoc by playing as a reverse winger and have the right back Dani Alves taking the space behind him. This was the partnership in crime. Once Dani left, he changed his game and found his partner in crime on the left side. First Neymar and then Jordi Alba. At a macro level that has remained the pattern. The way Papu operates, he is just perfect in that space. It could be amazing (at least it feels to me). Both skilled, quick and very creative. Only reservation I feel is how long Papu is going to hold the ball. May be that’s the issue. But seems so mouth watering.

    • Would love to see Papu and Messi behind Lautaro in a 4-3-2-1 or 3-4-2-1. It gives them both a ton of freedom for movement and creativity. Not necessarily starting with this formation, but I think it can easily be sorted out with 5 subs and our midfield depth if we are ahead in second half.

    • I have a fear of the same thing happening to Lb when Tagliafico retires. Not a lot of good talent. Some options like Lisandro, Cufre, Bravo but I don’t think they will get anywhere near Tagliafico. I guess we have to wait for some of out wonder kids in that position to rise up.

      • I like Nico alot and he is highly rated by his team and football pundits alike, infact it’s not a stretch to say that he is world class (was in ESPN’s top 10 leftbacks list). With that being said I don’t think he’s anywhere near irreplaceable and from the few games I saw of Licha playing in that position (4 in total to be exact) I think he is more than capable of matching or even surpassing Nico in the long run.

  5. I remember the scene when he got a nasty injury on his face( I think it’s on his nose) against Netherlands in the semifinal of WC 2014 and he ran quickly to the sidelines and was hurrying the medical man to do it quickly. After a minute or so he was there again, on the pitch with a thick band-aid in his nose, that too with most of it clinging outside. And in the next moment he was running again, getting physical with the big Dutch defenders and midfielders without any thought or concern about his injury. He defended, recovered balls, played passes and just ran and ran, as much as he could.

    But after the penalty win it was just a joy to watch, him and rojo grabbing each other’s shirts and crying in joy.

    What a fighter he was. Determined, hard working and a passion that is unmatchable.

    Gracias por todo mi guerrera. Your will and you shall always remain a legend in the hearts of people who had enjoyed and savoured you.

      • Marcos Senesi would be very much needed in later part of WCQ he is a decent CB and also cristian romero, Lautaro Valenti, Nahuel Molina, Emi Buendia, and Bruno Amione these guys would definietly come in handy remenber that there is also a need of strong bench for Argentina NT and these guys mentioned are having potential to be better than options like Otamedni, Di Maria, Waltermann, Pavon etc( No disrespect to these guys though) and last but not the least Scaloni needs to try his best to convince Giovani Reyna (if he joins Argentina NT then Midfield would be more stronger) and Maupay(would make attack dept even better) to play for Argentina NT since such talents are rare and could be very much usefull for National Team.

        • @MESSI 10 I dont think Reyna would play for Argentina. He is an American by heart ,and this genration is talented. His connection to Argentina are very fragile. And i think we have better strike options than Maupay:Avila,Alario,Gaich,Simeone. Maupay’s attitude is also a huge problem ,we don’t want any more antics

      • Firstly we don’t need to get fixated on ball playing as the mandatory skill needed for a CB. In a CB pair – atleast one should be ball playing profile to bring the ball from the back. The other CB can always possess another set of strengths like aerial dominations , defensive tackles , pace etc. Rarely we see a CB with all these skills & then those CBs are definitely rated world class.
        Now coming to Senesi – here is my 2 cents . This is after watching a couple of full Eredivisie matches . He is a natural Left CB. So his NT competition will ideally be Otamendi , Medina, Lisandro , Balerdi & if list is extended maybe Palamino , Valenti ( now Parma ) & Amione ( now Verona). Positives are Senesi definitely is good on the ball & likes advancing . If you see the Ajax game in Oct 2019 ( where Feyenoord loses 0.4 …..available in footballia.net) in the 88-90th min or so he calmly brings the ball out of penalty zone between multiple Ajax attackers & advances. He regularly tries vertical forward passes to break defensive lines. He is aerially strong & tackles well in 1 on 1 situations.
        Negatives on Senesi i could see is he is slow or average at best. He can easily get outpaced by fast winger or fwd . Also his positioning seems suspect. Many times i felt he leaves the formation & creates gaps. Maybe with experience this will get fixed. Also in same game one of the goals he was guilty of ball watching. Still he has potential & i feel a stint in Serie A will make him more solid.
        In current scheme of things – my vote is to give Facundo Medina the first chance as Left CB replacement of Otamendi as he seems well balanced ( including pace ) . Lisandro is there on talent – but i think Scaloni will not consider him for CB role & may look at him as a DM. Also need to highlight that a depleted Otamendi currently is still better than these youngsters – but agree that we need to invest in future & start building replacement now

        • Agree fully but got stuck on last line. The only thing Ota has over the other argie defenders is his experience. Otherwise he is extremely inconsistent. For 10 minutes he will be like Van Dijk and the next 10 minutes he will be like Phil Jones. I think its high time he leaves the squad. He aint getting any younger,and is bound to worsen even more. Nonetheless he is a legend and i want my last memories of Otamendi in Argentine shirt to be good

          • I am in agreement with the fact that he has fallen in recent times & at some time he needs to be phased out. But a lot of the inconsistency theory on Otamendi is very Man City related. You need to keep in mind the spotlight EPL goes through & errors get amplified even more. Look at some of the goof ups even Van Dijk did in last 10 matches including FA Cup semis & season opener against Leeds. Ota has been reasonably efficient in NT ( even if we look at recent times ) . He should be in squad atleast till Copa & i am sure Scaloni will do that. During this time , Scaloni can find his replacement & keep giving him ( hopefully Medina ) good game time ( anyway 5 sub rule is there in WCQ) . Maybe the Paraguay game let Medina start. But immediate dumping of Ota is premature & Scaloni clearly will not do that. Also Ota will get playing time in Benfica which will keep him less rusty.

        • I agree Amit. Defensive ability (which can include tackling, positional awareness, and heading ability) should always be put first ahead of ball carrying. Say Senesi eventually becomes better than our other center backs with the dirty work, we can always have a right center back who is faster and better at ball carrying to compliment him. That isn’t to say that he is bad at ball carrying either.

          • Put Sensei in Atletico Madrid he will also end up in bench. N. Perez played really good in Famaliaco as regular. Granada also is a good team he will shine there too

        • Sensei does not have positioning sense and does not read the game well. He is good in air and in scoring goals pretty solid but positioning is important factor. Yeah I did not watch Sensei much but end of the day that is just my opinion.Sometime I become arrogant because people praises the player I do not think they should be in the team ahead of more talented player. Sensei, C. Romero,Acuna,Lisandro,Ascacibar etc we already have much better player than them we need to back better players

  6. Legend. We never have been able to replace him. Our best RB since zanetti. Hope he stays back in Europe. He can contribute to football as a coach or sporting director etc in one of the English clubs. I think he was trying to get into commentary space.