Football

Zabaleta happy to sign new deal

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Pablo Zabaleta has signed a new four-and-a-half year contract with Manchester City.

The no-nonsense right-back has become a popular figure at Eastlands since becoming one of the first players to join Mark Hughes' overhaul of the club in the summer of 2008, signing from Espanyol.

"The guy at our fish shop always says it's easy to remember my last goal - it's the only one," he told the club's website, www.mcfc.co.uk. "But I only used to score once a season in Spain and Argentina - my first job is always to defend, although I'm happy to play where the manager wants in the best league in the world. "

The Argentina international has racked up 50 performances for the club in the that time, despite facing strong competition for a starting place from Micah Richards, not least in part because of his ability to play as a holding midfielder when required.

The 24-year-old revealed he has quickly adapted to life in England, and said: "My English lessons are finished now, I will continue to learn with my team-mates at Carrington. I'm delighted to sign because I'm so happy playing for Manchester City and I love living here."

With injuries beginning to hit in City's defence, Zabaleta is looking forward to playing a key role over the festive period.

"We play in front of over 40,000 passionate fans. It's so different from Spain," he said.

"We need to aim for nine points from these next three games to keep fighting for a good position. If we play well enough we can get into the top four. We have the players for big things."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Micah Richards
Mark Hughes
Pablo Zabaleta
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