Mayday Mayday – City fans in distress over Zaba departure

Tears of unbridled joy, anguish, frustration and sadness – there’s something decidedly emotional about Manchester City and the 13th day of May.

Always & Forever – Zaba will be a true blue. Graphic created by Stiz of our BlueRoom sponsors.

First we had Sergio Aguero with 93 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock back in 2012, drilling home the most sensational climax to a Premier League season ever.

Never mind ‘Cry Me a River’, City’s delirious fans could have filled an ocean, weeping uncontrollably after Agueerrrrooo fired home the title winning goal against QPR.

It goes down as Aguerrrooo Day, but let’s never forget the man who started the goal scoring on that oh so sweet day in May 2012.

One year later and they were lamenting the sacking of Roberto Mancini, the man who had made their team the Champions of England for the first time in 44 years, unceremoniously jettisoned as things turned sour between the volatile Italian manager and the club.

Fast forward to 2017, and those supporters are in veritable mourning at the sad, but inevitable, news that the man who epitomises everything that is good about the modern day Manchester City is leaving.

WARRIOR – Zaba has shed more blood than most for Manchester City.

At 23:30 hours it became official – Pablo Zabaleta was saying adios to City after nine years, 332 appearances (hopefully with a couple still to come) and 12 goals to his name – oh, how all City fans would love their Number 5 to have made it a ‘Baker’s Dozen’ by the end of play next Sunday.

Contrary to that most haunting of ballads ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, the fans will be shedding bucket loads for their most favoured of Argentines, a man who is the focus of a more ‘lively’ song, where the lyrics have him affectionately  as ‘the ‘Ckin Man’.

Iconic. Legend. There are so many ways to refer to the Zabman. Great graphic by Stiz of BlueRoom.

Has there ever been a City player more adored, admired – downright loved – by the fans for his gutsy performances, warrior instincts, never-say-die determination and bravery, a man who single handedly (or, to be more precise, single headedly) kept the British bandage business going through the economic downturn.

Symbolically he bleeds blue, but over the years we’ve seen the Zab man shed more than his fair share of the claret stuff in a sky blue shirt.

Argentinian Blues – Pablo and Sergio.

Arriving at City in August 2008, literally the day before Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, Zaba was to prove a bargain £6.5m acquisition from Espanyol.

Credit to the much maligned Mark Hughes for bringing the relatively unknown Argentine to the then City of Manchester Stadium, it was a shrewd investment, one which delivered gargantuan returns.

Having a ball – City fans will always love Zaba – some would even have his babies!

What price two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cup wins and recognition by his adoring public as City’s Player of the Season in 2012/13?

Little did we know that when the much-hyped and heralded Robinho made his first appearance for City against Chelsea in September 2008 – the same match as Zaba’s debut – it would be the understated full back from South America who would live long in City’s hearts and not the flashy striker.

Passion personified!

Robinho’s Brazilian genius was clear to see on the day as he scored a sensational free kick, whereas the Argentine with the exotic name had a torrid time in defence.

Nobody could have foreseen the emergence of Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod, born in Buenos Aires 32 years ago, as a man who would infuse dreams into the hearts of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in sky blue.

And then there was one – Zaba’s departure will leave Sergio as the only man remaining at City from this most wonderful of images. It’s no laughing matter.

Over the years it’s widely received wisdom that you should, ‘Always be yourself, unless you can be Pablo Zabaleta…then always be Pablo Zabaleta.’

As a City fan it’s nigh on impossible to argue with such sentiments.

So, that’s Pablo Zabaleta and the correct spelling is LEGEND, courtesy of Stiz at BlueRoom.

It wasn’t just the fact that Zaba delivered on the field, that he was integral to the most successful chapter in Manchester City’s history, no, it was also about the man himself.

Smiles, cheers and yes, more tears, as City ended their 35 year wait for a major trophy by lifting the FA Cup in May 2011.

The fans love for him goes well beyond what he achieved in the shirt.

Unassuming, witty and totally down-to-earth, Pablo quickly mastered the mother tongue of his adopted home – complete with a subtle Mancunian twang – immersing himself in Manchester life, starting out in a flat in Didsbury and generally being an ordinary ‘Citizen’.

Just an ordinary hombre, but an extraordinary guy.

I know from personal experience how he is idolised – and rightly so – by a baby boy who was fighting for his life following major heart surgery a few years ago.

Zaba heard about the little lad’s plight and made a point of meeting him and becoming long lasting friends with the boy and his family.

Pablo Zabaleta – He is and always will be the ‘Fckin Man’. Courtesy of Stiz and the BlueRoom.

Unless your name’s Marouane Fellaini, how can you not ‘love’ Zaba?

Fellow Argentine Willy Caballero, who himself may yet be leaving City at the end of the season, captured the mood perfectly earlier today in the run up to the vital clash with WBA.

Farewell Number 5

The City keeper appealed to the fans via social media when he said: “First on Tuesday we need you because we have to win. Second is the great opportunity for everyone to say goodbye and wish the best to this f****** amazing player and great person.”

A name NEVER to be forgotten – ZABALETA!

So, a 55,000 capacity Etihad crowd knows what is has to do…’DOO DOO DOO PABLO ZABALETA…’

 

By David Walker

Stating the obvious, dedicated to one of City’s Finest – Pablo Zabaleta – the pleasure and the privilege has been ours – GRACIAS!

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

8 Comments

  1. May 14, 2017  8:52 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Could be a tear Jersey on Tues to say goodbye to one of the finest ever to wear the shirt. I know players have have a shelf life & move on but our Zaba is more than just a player. He is & always will be part of the team that made my dreams come true a true city legend & a wonderful person So you might just see this blue shed a tear or two for a legend leaving us 😢

    • May 14, 2017  9:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      You sure as hell won't be alone Doug!

  2. May 14, 2017  9:07 pm by Adrian Reply

    Maybe I'm remembering it wrong but I seem to remember Sven trying to sign him in the January window but there was an issue with a work permit.

    • May 14, 2017  9:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      I cannot recall, but I suppose we should give Hughesy credit for something. He also signed Kompany, De Jong, Bellamy, SWP, Given.

  3. May 14, 2017  9:45 pm by Will Reply

    I remember being miffed when we signed him because I like Corluka, but little did I know! The guy is a true legend, the Uwe of his time and then some. He is the sort of man that every dressing room wants but few have. A guy to go into battle for you and never give up, especially when the going gets tough. He will be sorely missed in so many ways. I really hope he goes to West Ham. They will love him too, not for being the best right back in the Prem as he was for about 4 seasons, but for being the fookin' man!

    • May 14, 2017  10:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's a measure of the man that City fans will love him unconditionally forevermore...what's that...he's going to Old Trafford? ;-) He'll get a helluva reception if, as and when, he comes back to City with the Hammers. Yes, you're right West Ham should love him, historically very similar support to City.

  4. May 15, 2017  6:40 am by Pete lynch Reply

    Love the guy. Fitting piece David.

    • May 15, 2017  7:11 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks fella - he's one hell of an act to follow - Zaba = LEGEND!

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