Here at City we have a new saying: 'Always be yourself unless you can be Pablo Zabaleta, then be Pablo Zabaleta' I think that saying tells you everything you need to know about our idolisation of Pablo Zabaleta, a player who isn't one of our big twenty million pound signings nor is he a global superstar who enjoys the celebrity part of his job, he even signed for us before we got taken over by a wealthy man who has pumped millions and millions of pounds into our club, but on the other hand Pablo is a player whose passion for football and more importantly for City cannot be matched let alone beaten.
Pablo Zabaleta is one of those rare players who doesn't mind if he has to play out of position, he's one of those players who won't moan if he has to help out in attack in fact he seems to enjoy it, he doesn't mind doing those “extra duties” because unlike certain Manchester City players such as Samir Nasri he understands what the club is all about, he understands what fans like myself and thousands of others want from our players, he knows that when he walks out onto the pitch in a City shirt he has to give no less than 110% and he knows that at the end of the day that level of commitment is all that myself and the majority of other City fans want, because if we lose but the players give it everything they have we'll be content, it's the times when the players don't give everything they have that we get angry with them.
But Pablo's abilities aren't just limited to mental attributes like determination, passion and the art of not moaning about tactical decisions because Zabaleta is a very talented full back, one of the best in the Premier League, and one who can play equally well at right back or at left back. He possesses superb tackling ability and mixes his ability to defend incredibly well against some of the best wingers in the league (A notable example could be his performance against Ashley Young in last season's home Manchester Derby) with his lightening runs down the wing to help and support his team's wingers, offering passing options as well as a decent crossing ability he is an asset to City's attack as much as to the defence.
In a team which features players who are obviously only at the club for the economical benefits that it brings, players who despite being incredibly talented don't care about the club to the level that they should, players like David Silva and Edin Dzeko. Apart from the mercenaries there is also the case of Carlos Tevez, a player who refused to play for City not so long ago, so to have players who really do care like Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards, James Milner and of course Pablo Zabaleta helps to balance the team out and without their presence I highly doubt that City would have been able to achieve and succeed as much as they did last season.
Zabaleta's level of passion and care for the club isn't just one of the numerous side effects of watching on with blue-tinted specs, he really does care about the club. Take a look at his rare goal celebrations, rare because he rarely scores not rare because when he does score he insists on not celebrating because of some Balotelli-esque excuse of scoring a goal being the same as a binman collecting a bin correctly, when he does score you can see the emotion in his eyes, you can see that he really does love scoring for a team that he loves, as a pundit once said “You'd think he's from south Manchester not southern Argentina” and that couldn't be truer as Zabaleta is a man who has taken to life in Manchester so well that he even admits to missing the rain whilst he's away in sunnier climates, something that Robinho and many others never took to that well.
If Mr Consistent continues to perform the way he does for years to come, he will no doubt become a real City legend.