London, England – Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta signed a new four-year contract just hours before his team's opening Premier League fixture on Monday.
Zabaleta was handed the improved deal ahead of the Eastlands clash against Newcastle as reward for his outstanding form throughout the 2012-13 season, which saw him named as City's player of the year.
The 28-year-old Argentina right-back has made 175 appearances for City since signing from Espanyol in a £6.5 million deal in 2008.
“I have been here for five years and it feels like home,” Zabaleta said.
“Signing a contract extension with the club makes me feel very happy.
“I feel great here, I like the Premiership, and I think Manchester City are one of the clubs looking for success in the future.
“It is a club that is very well organised and when you see that everything works well you want to be here.”
Zabaleta joined City the day before the club was transformed by Sheikh Mansour's takeover.
He appeared as a substitute in the 2011 FA Cup final win against Stoke and went on to play an important part in City's 2012 Premier League title success.
Last season's fine campaign for the Argentine ended on a sour note when he was sent off in City's shock FA Cup final loss to Wigan.
City finished runners up in the Premier League as well, but they hope to bounce back under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, who replaced the sacked Roberto Mancini, and Zabaleta is relishing the challenge.
“I think we have got a great squad, fantastic players and hopefully we can win something this year,” he said. – Sapa-AFP