Pablo Zabaleta: Man City defender given emotional send-off at the Etihad

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Send off 'will stay with me forever' - Zabaleta

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta was given an emotional send-off as he played his last home game in the 3-1 win against West Brom.

The 32-year-old Argentina international, who is leaving after nine years at the club, came on to a standing ovation in the 62nd minute.

He was named man of the match and ended the game with the captain's armband after Vincent Kompany was substituted.

After the final whistle he gave an emotional farewell speech.

Zabaleta, who is City's third longest-serving player after Joe Hart and Kompany, was joined on the pitch by his wife and young son and given a guard of honour by his team-mates as he and his family departed down the tunnel.

A presentation also took place on the pitch in which Zabaleta was shown video tributes, including one from former teammate Mario Balotelli, and he was handed a lifetime City season ticket.

"As a football player and as a football fan it was a dream to come to the Premier League," said Zabaleta, who made more 322 appearances for the club, winning two league titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups.

"I said to my girlfriend, now my wife, let me go to Manchester, I will enjoy it, it will be only for three or four years, so I'll have to say sorry, it's been nine years.

"My favourite moments were when we beat Manchester United in the semi-final at Wembley and the first Premier League we won with Sergio Aguero's goal. The fans had waited so long and we did it in a City way."

Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta's teammates celebrated his career at City
Pablo Zabaleta
Fans applauded Zabaleta
Pablo Zabaleta
Man City fans held up signs for the Argentine

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