Zabaleta: 'Absolute privilege' to play at City

The Argentine full-back made his last appearance at the Etihad during City's 3-1 win over West Brom on Tuesday night.

"The fans had waited so long and we did it in a City way". "I had so many emotional memories as the ball was passing around me".

The 28-year-old was City's star performer as they took a huge step towards Champions League qualification on Tuesday night without having found the net himself.

City announced over the weekend that Zabaleta would end a nine-year spell in Manchester when his contract expires at the end of this season and Tuesday's final home match of the campaign was soundtracked by chants paying tribute to the Argentina global.

If Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's theory about mid-table teams in end-of-season mode is anything to go by, City will have few worries at Vicarage Road.

"In my situation at a big club: I'm sacked. It has been a wonderful nine years to be honest".

Meanwhile, Man City and Manchester United will face off in a friendly in Houston, Texas, in July in the first Manchester Derby on foreign soil, the two clubs announced yesterday.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game the Argentinian revealed that it was hard for him to play after that, and his honesty in terms of getting across how upset he was to be leaving the club despite having done what he felt was enough was actually heartbreaking.

Arsenal must win their final game at home to Everton on Sunday and hope Liverpool slip up at home to relegated Middlesbrough if they are to guarantee a 20th successive season of Champions League football.

"I am very happy and proud to have been part of this football club".

City boss Pep Guardiola: "It was a flawless night, especially for Pablo".

"He didn't score today but he helped us to make an assist, he made the assist for the first goal, the pass to Kevin, and the second one and third one with the double pass with Yaya", the City boss added. It will be tough not to play for this shirt any more, but I think it is the right thing to do.

"I've been so lucky to play alongside great players.it was an absolute privilege". "What I have done for the club is just what every single player should for the team he is playing for".

Zabaleta was honoured with a number of tributes after the game, including the presentation of a lifetime City season ticket.

  • Julie Sanders