Friday, 7 October 2011

Corazón De León

As the whole Tevez saga inevitably rumbles on, I'm quite pleased that SKY Sports and the MEN have taken a little time to devote a few column inches to the man for all seasons, Pablo Zabaleta. I have touched on how much I admire Zabman before but there's no harm in going over some of it again is there?

Since arriving from Espanyol in the summer of 2008 Zaba has etched his name in the hearts of City fans around the world. The headlines concerning City have rarely featured Pablo, unlike City's other Argentines Tevez and (this season) Aguero, however he has been just as important to the squad off the pitch as well as on it.

The MEN only has a couple of sentences and focuses more on Pablo's reaction to Tevez refusing to take to the pitch a week last Tuesday. As I mentioned in another post, he  looked royally pee'd off and completely ignored whatever it was Tevez was trying to tell him after the argument had finished.

There were rumours on Twitter that Zab actually punched Tevez in the players tunnel after the match but I'm pretty sure those rumours were rubbish, however we all would like them to be true.

Stuart Brennan also describes Zaba as "a thoroughly professional, driven and competent footballer, and a decent and balanced human being." You'd be struggling to argue with that.

When it comes to life on the pitch there aren't many players as committed to the cause as Zaba. He has to share the right back slot with Micah Richards and fills in where needed. The last 3 seasons have seen him play at both full back positions and in the centre and right of midfield. Has he complained? Has he hell. Pablo just gets on with the job at hand to the best of his ability, which although isn't to a standard as high as Sergio or Carlos, he's still a very able footballer.

He's the type of player every squad and manager needs, the kind of player who wont shy away from responsibilities no matter what the situation. Talking of not shying away, he's more than willing to put his body on the line for the club, quite literally. I (and no doubt Zaba) lost count of how many times he had to be take off the pitch for blood injuries only to come back on moments later bandaged, bruised and (more often than not) nose put back into place.

He can't be described as a dirty player, there's no malice in his tackles, but he picks up his fair share of bookings due to his uncompromising approach to tackling. As with a lot of defenders he will take one for the team and pick up that yellow for a blatant obstruction if need be.

What about life away from the pitch? Zaba arrived in England unable to speak the language but he has stuck to his English lessons and now speaks (and has done for a while now) fluent English, even with a mancunian twang to a few words. It's even reported that he still has up to 6 hours of English lessons a week in a bid to be as fluent as he can possibly be. I'm sure you wont find many footballers that would be doing the same.

You can also regularly find Pablo at Ewen Fields watching the EDS, and the Spanish youngster Denis Suarez has singled out Pablo as someone who has helped him settle in. A more high profile player who has been singing his praises is fellow countryman Sergio Aguero.

"During the Copa America he kept asking me if I was coming or not, every day. And when I could tell him that I was, he was really happy.

"He comes round to my house every couple of days with his girlfriend, or we go to their house. He is really happy in Manchester."

And aren't you glad it's Pablo that Aguero is hanging around with off the pitch and not the other Argentine! Enthusiasm is contagious and Zaba seemingly has bags of it for Manchester and City so lets hope that rubs off on Sergio.

As one Argentine has brought yet more embarrassment to the club, one continues to be the consummate professional. So I was pleased to see the creation of a new flag to fly at the Etihad Stadium. One bearing the image of Pablo Zabaleta with the words "Corazón De León" (Heart of a lion) emblazoned on it. Quite fitting in the current climate don't you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments containing abusive, foul or discriminatory language will not be published.