Men's Team

City 100: Lighting up the world and Zaba's return

City 100: Lighting up the world and Zaba's return
Ton up! In celebration of our City Centurions' remarkable, record-smashing season, we are running a 100-themed summer feature...

With your help, we fondly recall '100 reasons to smile' from our wonderful 2017/18 campaign, which ended in spectacular fashion as the Blues clinched an unprecedented 100 Premier League points.

Share your favourite memories from an incredible season - the awesome, the eye-catching; the heart-warming and pride-inducing - on Twitter @ManCity, no matter how big or small... and yours could be featured over the next few weeks.

37Lighting up the world

Outstanding achievements deserve remarkable recognition and City’s incredible success in the 2017/18 season was celebrated in style.

Marking our ‘Centurions’ season, we (quite literally) lit up the world with a series of light projections across each of the players’ home cities (25 in total) across the globe.

Every single player who played a part in the title-winning campaign was represented after the trophy celebration game against Huddersfield... and they’d had no idea!

READ: Kompany returns as Belgium top Group G

WATCH: World Cup memories | Kevin De Bruyne

An image of the full squad adorned Manchester Town Hall to kick things off and gradually, each city – from Barnsley to Buenos Aires; all of which were chosen for their personal connection to each player – pictured their heroes on iconic landmarks.

The locations included the favela in Sao Paulo where Gabriel Jesus first learned to play football, the beach in Gran Canaria where a young David Silva used to practise his skills and the site of Kevin De Bruyne’s first club in Belgium where young footballers now compete in the ‘Kevin De Bruyne Cup’ each year.

The City Football Academy also joined in the celebrations in commemoration of those players who graduated through the youth set-up.

It was a fitting tribute to a truly sensational season and all of its amazing achievements.

38Zaba's return

As City fans, we all claim to bleed blue… and one man whose loyalty to the Club cannot be denied (evident with actual frequent bloodshed for the cause) is the one and only: Mr Pablo Zabaleta.

A self-confessed ‘adopted Mancunian’, ‘ZabMan’ was blue through and through. Such was his legendary cult hero status, the news of his departure to pastures new in summer 2017 was met with an outpouring of emotion and gratitude from the Club, fans and players alike.

The Argentine defender was adored – and deservedly so – both on and off the pitch.

READ: City 100 | Sublime Sane and excellent Ederson

WATCH: Pablo Zabaleta's last CityTV interview

When he waved goodbye to the City faithful on the final day of the 2016/17 campaign, his legacy at the Club was duly celebrated and although tears were shed, his farewell was a happy one. Zaba received the ovation he deserved as well as some parting gifts, including a lifetime Seasonticket at the Etihad Stadium.

Though he subsequently joined another Club, it would not be long before he returned his beloved City, as West Ham visited Pep Guardiola’s side in December 2017.

The defender stepped out onto the Etihad turf once again – this time, adorning the Hammers’ colours – and once again, received rapturous applause.

The result would not go his way on this occasion, as the hosts triumphed 2-1, thanks to goals from his compatriot Nicolas Otamendi and  special moment for a special player and person.

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