Player of the Season nominees: Pablo Zabaleta
With the season having ended, Sportskeeda decided to let its viewers rate the 30 best players of the season.
We will be shortlisting 30 of the best performers this term, and let you pick your winner.
What do you think? Have your say at the end of the article.
This Argentine’s blood bleeds blue. He has been a loyal servant to the Citizens and played a key role in the rise of the blue side of Manchester to its prominence. While many who came before the Sheikh era have left the club, failing to stay up in the fight to the top, he has fought off the threat of talented players such as Maicon and Micah Richards, not only to stay at the Etihad Stadium but also rise to the top. He is Pablo Zabaleta, and we are here to analyse why he deserves to be challenging for the spot of the Player of the Season.
Zabaleta was a signing made by the then Man City manager Mark Hughes, a day before the takeover of the club by Sheikh Mansoor. He arrived in Eastlands for a fee of £6.45 million. He was made to play both at central defence as well as at right back. He demonstrated his versatility in both positions. With Roberto Mancini’s arrival, he increasingly found more playing time and kept showing more and more improvement.
This season, the only silver lining in the dark clouds of a distraught campaign for City was the emergence of Zabaleta to become a truly world class player. We have already witnessed his tremendous work rate, dedication to his trade and work ethic. Never has he been afraid to put himself on the line to put in a block. This season, we have also seen him leading his side in the absence of an important figure such as Vincent Kompany.
This season, following Micah Richards’s terrible injury, he made the right back position his own. He has not only defended with some vigour, but he has also shown his clean foot by popping up with a goal when required. He scored the equaliser in a 2-3 derby defeat to Manchester United, besides scoring against Stoke City in both fixtures. He was an important cog in City’s wheel.
The only thing that is worth worrying about at this time is his age old problem: being on the wrong side of tackles. One year it was Scholes, this year he squandered the only silverware hope for City by getting himself sent off for his rash challenge on Callum McManaman in the FA Cup final against Wigan Athletic. But at the age of 28, he is at his physical prime now. He is not afraid of anything, gives it his all for 90 minutes and has got the right attitude and flair for the game. Hopefully in the future, he can lift more silverware.
Click here to view the rest of the Player of the Season nominees