Manchester City and their supporters received a bit of good news before Monday's season opener against Newcastle, as defender Pablo Zabaleta has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the club.
From the club's official Twitter account:
Per the press release:
Pablo Zabaleta has committed his long term future to City by signing a new four-year contract which will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2017.
The defender, who was voted Etihad Player of the Year for 2012/13, joined the Blues in 2008 from Espanyol and has gone on to make 175 appearances for the club.
Zabaleta was excellent for City last year, manning the right-back position with aplomb. He made 30 total Premier League appearances (and 42 total appearances), scoring three goals and adding two assists in all competitions.
Alongside defenders Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Joleon Lescott and Gael Clichy and keeper Joe Hart, Zabaleta helped man a defensive unit that allowed just 34 goals, fewest in the Premier League.
While that unit has been shaky at times during the preseason, it will once again be expected to be stout during the title chase.
The Argentina international was judged by Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe in his EPL 100 to be the Premier League's best full-back, fifth-best defender and 30th overall player. It's not hard to see why City would want to wrap up the 28-year-old for the long haul.
Thus continues Manchester City's strong summer. Along with bringing in manager Manuel Pellegrini, the team made major additions in Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
Meanwhile, the club only lost one major contributor, Carlos Tevez, who was often a distraction throughout his City career.
Now, the team's best player from a year ago has been secured to a long-term deal. It's easy to see why optimism is so high for City as they attempt to mount another run at the Premier League title.