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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Mauro Zárate

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Mauro Zárate played for Lazio from 2008 to 2011 and then briefly in the 2012-13 season.

He was born in Buenos Aires, on March 13, 1987. He is known as Zárate Kid.


He was destined to become a footballer as it ran in the family. His Chilean grandfather had played and Mauro's father Sergio had played for Independiente. Zarate also has four brothers and three played football (one, Sergio, had a brief spell with Ancona).


He started his career in the Vélez Sarsfield youth sector and then went on to play for the first team. Between 2003 and 2007 he played 75 league games with 22 goals. The "El Fortín" won the Clausura tournament in 2005.


In June 2007 he made a surprise move to Al-Sadd. The Qatari club paid 20 million dollars for him. However, he did not settle in Doha and only played 6 games with 4 goals.


In January 2008 he moved to Birmingham City, on loan, in the Premier League. He made 14 appearances with 4 goals but his positive performances were not enough to avoid the Blues relegation.


In July 2008 he joined Lazio in Serie A, initially on loan but with an option to buy agreement at 17 million Euros. He made a dream debut for Lazio, scoring a brace against Cagliari. He had a good first season under Delio Rossi, playing 41 games and scoring 16 goals (13 in the league). He scored in a 4-2 derby triumph and his goals helped Lazio lift the Coppa Italia. He scored against Juventus in the semi-final and again in the final (plus in the penalty shoot-out).


In his second year he played regularly, getting 42 games but scored less. In Serie A he netted only 3 times (Parma home and away, Palermo) and another 4 in Europa League (Elfsborg, Levski Sofia, Vilareal home and away). It was a difficult season for Lazio. After a dream start winning the Italian Supercoppa, 2-1 against Mourinho's Inter, things started going badly. After 25 games manager Davide Ballardini was replaced by Edy Reja with Lazio in the relegation battle but then they finally managed to avoid the drop.


The following year Edy Reja stayed on and Zarate started scoring more. He played 35 league games with 9 goals (Chievo, Napoli, Inter, Juve, Cesena, Catania, Inter, Lecce x 2) plus 1 game in Coppa Italia. Lazio finished a positive 5th qualifying for the Europa League.


After three seasons with Lazio, Zárate went to Inter on loan with an option to buy the following year. In his contract he also had a clause of 15,000 Euros per assist. His time in Milan however was not a success, he played a total of 32 games but only scored 3 goals (2 in Serie A and 1 in Champions League). Inter decided not to sign him at the end of the season and he returned to Lazio.


At Lazio he found a new manager, Vladimir Petkovic. Zarate had only played 7 games (1 in Serie A) with 1 goal (Mura in Europa League) when his relationship with the club soured. In December Zárate refused the call up for the game against Inter and was permanently excluded from the squad. There followed a court case and he never played for Lazio again.


In the summer of 2013, he returned to Argentina and re-joined Vélez Sarsfield. He stayed a year and rediscovered his goal scoring abilities with 19 goals in 36 games (in all competitions). He won the Argentine Super Cup beating Arsenal de Sarandi and was top scorer in the league with 13 goals.


In 2014 he was back in Europe. He joined West-Ham United in the Premier League. He signed a three-year contract with the Hammers but after only 8 appearances and 2 goals, in January 2015, he went across London to Queens Park Rangers. The team from Shepherds Bush however, were relegated and, after only 4 goalless games, Zarate returned to Upton Park, but he would not stay long. In January 2015, after another 21 games with 5 goals for the Claret and Blues, he returned to Serie A.


He played two half seasons for Fiorentina playing a total of 26 games with 7 goals.


In January 2017 he was back in England and signed for Watford in the Premier League. His period with the Hornets was unlucky and in only his third game he suffered a serious knee injury which ended his season.


In 2017 he joined Al-Nassr (Cristiano Ronaldo' current club in Saudi Arabia) on loan. They were coached by Italian Cesare Prandelli. Zarate played 8 games with 3 goals.


In January 2018 he returned to Argentina for good. First at old club Vélez Sarsfield (13 games-8 goals) and then at Boca Juniors for three seasons (87 games-20 goals). With Boca he won the league in 2019-20 the Supercopa Argentina in 2018.


In 2021 he had a brief spell in Brazil with América-MG (16 games -1 goal) and the Juventude before returning to Argentina in May 2022 and joining Platense.


On January 31, 2023 he signed for Cosenza in Serie B but after just three games he got seriously injured and will be out for the rest of the season.


At international level he won an U20's World Cup in Canada in 2007.


Mauro Zárate is an extremely skilful player. He is versatile and can play in various forward roles and even behind the strikers. He possesses exceptional dribbling abilities (which he sometimes abuses) and can shoot with both feet. With his talent he could have done more with his career and his peak was probably at Lazio.


At Lazio, at one point he looked outstanding. In his first year especially, it seemed he was or could become one of the best players in Europe. Some of his goals were superb, in particular his curling shots after dazzling dribbling movements. At Lazio he was immensely popular and known as Maurito, before things went wrong. However, his curler against Roma, his goals in the Coppa Italia and his penalty in the final shoot-out can never be cancelled. He has admitted since that he should never have left Lazio but he did and has left regrets here too but also great moments.


Lazio career

Season

Total games (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa

2008-09

41 (16)

36 (13)

5 (3)

-

-

2009-10

42 (8)

32 (3)

2 (1)

7 (4)

1

2010-11

36 (9)

35 (9)

1

-

-

2012-13

7 (1)

1

-

6 (1)

-

Total

126 (34)

104 (25)

8 (4)

13 (5)

1

Sources


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