West Ham fans react as defender secures contract extension
West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta has ended speculation he will retire from football once and for all by extending his contract at the London Stadium.
The Argentine’s old deal was to expire at the end of the current season, and some expected him to hang up his boots, but the 34-year-old has now committed to another year.
Zabaleta joined the Hammers on a free transfer in 2017 after a succesful nine-year stint at Manchester City.
He has made 65 appearances so far for the club, with 26 coming this season.
Speaking about his extension, Zabaleta said, as quoted by the club’s official website: “It’s great news and I’m so happy. I’m enjoying my time at West Ham and I’ve got so much respect and so much passion for this profession. I’m still enjoying it and it’s made me feel I can go for another year.”
Next season Zabaleta will be battling it out with Ryan Fredericks to be the first-choice right-back, although many will expect the former’s age to see him operate more as a deputy.
West Ham fans react
As the club broke the news of Zabaleta’s extension on Wednesday evening, fans took to social media to react. Most seemed to be OK with the development, with many keen to him used as a back-up:
Seems to be getting slower by the game, a decent backup to Fredericks though ⚒
— Hull Hammer (@hullhammer_) 1 May 2019
Fair play. Not sure he’ll be getting much game time with fredericks finding his feet in the team, but still a great influential player to have at the Club.
— Redhead ⚒⚒ (@Kieren_Redhead) 1 May 2019
— West Ham in the Blood (@WestHamBlood) 1 May 2019
Good. Fredericks should be #1 choice at present, but a fine backup and no doubt a great mentor for Johnson.
— legalclaret (@legalclaret) 1 May 2019
Yes zaba!!! ⚒
— will earle (@willearle_) 1 May 2019
An excellent signing. The playing issues aside he’s an articulate and intelligent footballer who will encourage and support the less experienced players to reach their potential.
— Geoff Smith (@GeoffSm43725963) 1 May 2019
Good news ????
— ⚒Gary⚒ (@Gaz198813) 1 May 2019
Model pro, love the guy, great to have around and continue to nurture Fredericks ??
— Simply moore (@simply_moore1) 1 May 2019
He has said he wants to play less, but yes he is a perfect back up. And can still put in a worthwhile shift!
— George Camp ⚒ (@Camp1391) 1 May 2019
this ain’t it
— maxinho (@IHaveABigDec) 1 May 2019
Been great for us however can’t help but feel this is a mistake
— Oliver Bruton (@olliebruton) 1 May 2019
— oscar (@mustbemaiga) 1 May 2019
Good character to have and can help Fredericks develop.
— Ian Deakin ⚒ ⚽️ ?️? (@IanDeakin16) 1 May 2019
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