The fans love me? The feeling’s mutual! Pablo Zabaleta crowned Manchester City’s Player of the Year

By Colin Henrys

Tireless full-back Pablo Zabaleta has capped a fantastic individual season by being crowned Etihad Manchester City FC Player of the Year in a landslide vote.

Zabaleta, 28, polled 68% of the votes, becoming the third Argentine to win the award in four years – following 2009 winner Carlos Tevez and last season’s recipient Sergio Aguero.

And the popular former Espanyol man paid tribute to the club’s supporters, who voted him to the award.

“The fans have always been fantastic towards me and shown me a lot of love and respect,” he told the club’s website. “And I can assure them the feeling is mutual.

“I would like to say thank you to all the City fans who voted for me.

“This is a great personal honour and sits alongside winning the Premier League title, captaining City and playing for my country.”

The ‘Zabman’ – so nicknamed because of his fearless approach to playing, which has regularly left him sporting head bandages and bloody noses – played 42 times last season, scoring three goals.

His performances had already earned him back-to-back Etihad Player of the Month awards in January and February and a place in the PFA Team of the Year.

Since signing in 2008, just weeks before the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group, he has played 193 times for City and scored seven goals.

The Argentina international – capped 30 times for his country – beat Tevez into second place while young Serbian defender Matija Nastasic, in his debut season, came third.

Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko finished fourth and last season’s winner Aguero was fifth.

Image courtesy of Manchester City, via CityTV, with thanks.

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