Zapater with Lokomotiv Moscow in 2012
|Full name||Alberto Zapater Arjol|
|Date of birth||13 June 1985|
|Place of birth||Ejea de los Caballeros, Spain|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 May 2019|
The first-team manager, former Spanish international Víctor Muñoz, was impressed enough, allowing Zapater to join the first team in pre-season training. He was given his official debut on Zaragoza's first game of 2004–05, against Valencia CF in the Spanish Supercup: although the Aragonese ended up losing 0–1 he put up a solid performance overall, confirmed in the 3–1 second leg away win.
At just 19, Zapater went on to feature in 31 La Liga matches during the league campaign, netting in a 2 March 2005 defeat at Real Sociedad where he was also sent off. In the following season, he helped the club finish as runners-up in the Copa del Rey – losing the final to RCD Espanyol – while also only missing three league matches; his strong tackling and the amount of fouls he committed earned him the nickname of 'The Bull', given by Diego Maradona.
In the following two seasons, after renewing his contract until June 2010, Zapater remained an undisputed starter, only missing four contests combined while experiencing qualification honours to the UEFA Cup in 2006–07, and relegation in the following year.
In late July 2009, after being instrumental in Zaragoza's return to the top division, and already playing pre-season football with the Maños, Zapater left for Genoa C.F.C. for around €4.5 million, as the Spaniards were also immerse in a deep financial crisis. He held an emotional press conference before parting ways with his boyhood team, whilst fans paid tribute to the player dedicating a song to him.
On 17 September 2009, Zapater had the distinction of scoring the first ever goal in the Europa League proper, with a fourth-minute strike against SK Slavia Prague. He started throughout most of his debut season in Serie A – his maiden appearance in the competition being marked with a goal and an assist, in a 3–2 home win over A.S. Roma– as Genoa finished in mid-table; before the end of the campaign and during the subsequent off-season he was linked with a move to several clubs, but nothing ever materialized.
On 30 July 2010, Zapater was sold to Sporting CP as Miguel Veloso moved in the opposite direction. Used intermittently in his only season he did appear in 34 official games for the Lions, scoring four times.
On 3 August 2011, Zapater moved to Russian side FC Lokomotiv Moscow on a free transfer, signing a five-year contract. He made his first Premier League appearance on 11 September, setting up Manuel da Costa's goal in a 4–2 win over FC Zenit Saint Petersburg; in an interview with a newspaper from his native region (El Periódico de Aragón) in late 2012, he spoke of his development in the new reality and his efforts to learn the Russian language.
On 19 June 2016, Zapater returned to Zaragoza after agreeing to a two-year deal.
Zapater took part in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, in a Spanish team that also featured future senior internationals Cesc Fàbregas, Fernando Llorente and David Silva. He scored his first and the only goal in a 1–3 defeat to Argentina in the quarter-finals.
- As of 22 May 2014
- "Alberto Zapater: "Estoy orgulloso de llevar ya 200 partidos"" [Alberto Zapater: "I am proud to have played 200 games already"]. El Periódico de Aragón (in Spanish). 4 May 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "El Zaragoza noquea al Valencia y gana la Supercopa" [Zaragoza knock Valencia out and win the Supercup]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 24 August 2004. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "La Real se impone a un Zaragoza desafortunado" [Real overcome hapless Zaragoza]. El País (in Spanish). 3 March 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "Alberto Zapater: "Sé dónde quiero estar"" [Alberto Zapater: "I know where I want to be"]. El Periódico de Aragón (in Spanish). 27 June 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- "Zapater stays with Zaragoza". Sky Sports. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Genoa get hold of Zapater". UEFA. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Un descosido en el escudo" [Badge comes undone]. El País (in Spanish). 31 July 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- "Gracias a la gente" [Thanks to the people]. Heraldo de Aragón (in Spanish). 29 July 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Hubo cánticos en recuerdo de Alberto Zapater" [Chants in memory of Alberto Zapater]. El Periódico de Aragón (in Spanish). 30 August 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "In-form Genoa see off Slavia". UEFA. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
- "Genoa spettacolo – La Roma cade" [Genoa show – Roma fall]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 23 August 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- "Juventus target Genoa midfielder Alberto Zapater". Goal. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Lazio closing in on Genoa midfielder Alberto Zapater". Goal. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Valencia tracking Genoa midfielder Alberto Zapater". Goal. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Veloso leaves Sporting in Zapater swap". UEFA. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- "El Sporting coloca el cartel de transferible al español Alberto Zapater" [Sporting transferlist Spaniard Alberto Zapater]. El Periódico de Aragón (in Spanish). 11 July 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- ""El Toro" Zapater es el protagonista de la prensa deportiva lusa" ["The Bull" Zapater is the protagonist in Portugal's sports press]. El Diario Vasco (in Spanish). 25 January 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Альберто Сапатер: "В "Локомотиве" можно решать самые амбициозные задачи" [Alberto Zapater: "Lokomotiv can take on whatever comes"] (in Russian). FC Lokomotiv Moscow. 3 August 2011. Archived from the original on 5 August 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Alberto Zapater: "Un ruso te dice que le caes bien y te parece que te está insultando"" [Alberto Zapater: "A Russian tells you he likes you and it looks like you're being insulted"]. El Periódico de Aragón (in Spanish). 26 November 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "El Real Zaragoza llega a un acuerdo para la incorporación de Alberto Zapater" [Real Zaragoza reach an agreement to add Alberto Zapater] (in Spanish). Real Zaragoza. 19 June 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
- "2005, Mundial sub'20 (I): Sueños de gloria" [2005, under'20 World Cup (I): Dreams of glory] (in Spanish). Recuerdos de Nigeria. 19 July 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- ""Sense of fury" keeps Spain alive". UEFA. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Alberto Zapater". Soccerway. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Includes Supercopa de España