West Ham made hard work of their FA Cup third round clash with Gillingham last night.
Pablo Zabaleta finally broke the League One side’s resistance in the 74th minute with a low, drilled strike.
It was the Argentine’s first goal for the Hammers.
And David Moyes told reporters what Zabaleta jokingly said to his teammates in the dressing room after the game, as quoted by Football.London:
“He came back in the dressing room and was saying ‘I’ve had to bail you out again, I’m 35 and you need me!’ he had a bit of crack. I think they were chanting one more year after that. The big thing with Zabaleta is his professionalism is incredible and he’s been a really good player.”
The former Manchester City man has been a top professional since joining West Ham in the summer of 2018.
He will be 35 on January 16th, however, and his body clearly isn’t built for the ferocious pace of the Premier League anymore.
Zabaleta will most likely be given a regular run of games now, after Ryan Fredericks suffered what looked like a serious hamstring injury against the Gills last night.
The South American right-back has plenty of experience, and he knows how use his smart positioning to compensate for his lack of pace.
In truth, most West Ham fans will be fine with Zabaleta leaving in the summer, but that it not to say that he hasn’t given his all for the east London outfit over the past two seasons.
It seems as though he will be playing more regularly between now and the end of the campaign than he would have first imagined, however.