Happy Birthday: Pablo Zabaleta

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Manchester City favourite Pablo Zabaleta celebrates his 28th birthday today, and I thought I would take the chance to heap some journalistic platitude on the hard working Argentine.

'The Lion', as the City faithful affectionately refer to him, has been at the Etihad Stadium since 2008, joining from Spanish side Espanyol for £3 million.

Currently playing at right-back for the Premier League champions, Zabaleta is keeping out Brazilian legend Maicon and young Englishman Micah Richards. He's also capable of playing anywhere across the back four if required by manager Roberto Mancini.

When watching a Manchester City game, it's impossible to miss the player's commitment to the cause, endlessly running up the touchline to either whip balls into the box or link up with David Silva. He'll then track back, chasing down opposition players and covering his side of the pitch when required.

This term he has been one of City's most consistent performers - a point proved by him winning the Citizens' Player of the Month award for December.

It's easy to see why he's such a firm favourite with fans at the Etihad Stadium, and supporters of other Premier League clubs would love to have a player with similar qualities of determination in their side.

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David Silva
Manchester City
Premier League
Micah Richards
Pablo Zabaleta

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