Pablo Zabaleta is a starting midfielder for Argentina and contributed to their extraordinary run to the World Cup final.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Was His First
Zabaleta made his FIFA World Cup debut on the back line for Argentina when then beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in a group match of the tournament.
2. He Makes $6.6 Million a Year on Manchester City
As a member of the Manchester City Squad, Zabaleta gets paid about $95,000 a week and $6.6 million a year.
3. He Went Pro When He Was 17
The Buenos Aires native’s career started at Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro in 2002. He signed with the youth team when he was 12 and was promoted to the senior pro team when he was 17. Since then he has played for Espanyol and now Manchester City.
4. He Was On Argentina When They Won the 2008 Olympics
Zabaleta played defense for Argentina’s gold medal winning team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was a starter throughout the tournament and participated in all 6 matches.
5. His Wife Had a Hard Time Adjusting to England
Jason Statham "@Footy_WAGs: Christel Castano, Pablo Zabaleta’s Wife. pic.twitter.com/7pHAfy3iCz"
— One Arsene Wenger (@ArsenalBlitz) December 14, 2013
Christel Castano is Zabareta’s wife whom he married in June 2013. The Spanish beauty had a tough time adjusting to the culture in England when Zabaleta was transferred to Manchester City in 2008.
Castano said of England:
Of the 365 days a year, about 185 of them are raining, cold or dark. Or all three at the same time.”
She told people that she didn’t know anyone there and no one spoke her native tongue which made life more difficult. She also hated fish and chips.
She said of the English cuisine:
I come from a Mediterranean diet where fish and veg are a cornerstone of meals. When I found out about fish and chips, I thought it was a joke. Taking healthy fish then frying it in batter was a mystery to me.”
Now she has gotten more used to life in Manchester and said:
Although the adjustment was hard at first, we have come to love Manchester and everything that makes it special.”