MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 07:06:24

Pablo Zabaleta eyes Middle East move

Pablo Zabaleta eyes Middle East move
© Reuters
West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta reveals that he is open to moving to a club in the Middle East.

West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that he is open to moving to a club in the Middle East.

Zabaleta will see his two-year contract with the Hammers expire at the end of this season, and the Argentine is widely expected to seek pastures new.

The 33-year-old has said that he would be open to a move to Italy if he decided to remain in Europe but would also seriously consider any offers that arrive from the Middle East and America.

"My heart tells me I would like to play forever, but I will be 34 in January and I need to listen to my body at that time," he told Arab News. "At the end I will know what I want to do and where to go, but I would like one or two more years to carry on playing. At 34 I think it might be the right time to try something different, have a new experience.

"If I carry on playing in Europe, Italy is one of those leagues I haven't played, but I have always been thinking about the Middle East. I first went to the UAE for the Under-20 World Cup in 2003 and have seen how much the region has changed.

"I've been to Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the national team and you see the fantastic progress, football standards improving and passion of fans.

"The league is not as long as in Europe, but there's still the chance to play for trophies, to play big games competitively like in the Asian Champions League. I can't see myself going to China; the Middle East and America are more attractive."

Zabaleta has made nine appearances for West Ham during the 2018-19 campaign.


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Pablo Zabaleta in action for West Ham United in a friendly on July 14, 2018
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