Mauro Zárate

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For the baseball player, see Mauro Zárate (baseball).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Zárate and the second or maternal family name is Riga.
Mauro Zárate
Mauro Zárate with West Ham in July 2015.jpg
Zárate playing for West Ham in July 2015.
Personal information
Full name Mauro Matías Zárate Riga
Date of birth (1987-03-18) 18 March 1987 (age 28)
Place of birth Haedo, Argentina
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)[1][2]
Playing position Forward / Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 7
Youth career
Vélez Sarsfield
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2007 Vélez Sarsfield 99 (28)
2007–2009 Al-Sadd 6 (4)
2008 Birmingham City (loan) 14 (4)
2008–2009 Lazio (loan) 36 (13)
2009–2013 Lazio 68 (12)
2011–2012 Inter Milan (loan) 22 (2)
2013–2014 Vélez Sarsfield 29 (19)
2014–2016 West Ham United 22 (5)
2015 Queens Park Rangers (loan) 4 (0)
2016– Fiorentina 3 (1)
National team
2007 Argentina U20 5 (2)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:35, 4 February 2016 (UTC).

† Appearances (goals)

Mauro Matías Zárate Riga (American Spanish: [ˈmauɾo maˈ ˈsaɾate]; born 18 March 1987) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a forward for Italian club Fiorentina.

Zárate started his career with Vélez Sarsfield in his native country, playing three years for the team and winning the Primera División title in the 2005 Clausura tournament. He later signed for Qatari side Al-Sadd in 2007, where he played only six months before transferring on loan to Birmingham City in England. However, after Birmingham's relegation, Zárate was loaned out again, this time to Lazio in Italy, where he won the Coppa Italia. His move to Lazio was then made permanent for a fee of around €20 million, with a €60 million[3] buy-out clause. After a loan at Inter Milan and a brief return to Vélez Sarsfield, he joined West Ham United in 2014, spending the second half of his first season on loan at Queens Park Rangers. In January 2016, Zárate joined Italian club Fiorentina.

In international football, Zárate scored the winning goal as the Argentina under-20 team won the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup final.

Club career[edit]

Vélez Sarsfield[edit]

Zárate began his club football career at Vélez Sarsfield where he had played since childhood. At 17, considered too strong for the youth category, he was promoted to the first team where he made his full debut on 21 April 2004 against Arsenal de Sarandí. He shared the top-scorer award for the Apertura 2006 with Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors) with 12 goals each.[4]


On 18 June 2007, Zárate signed a two-year deal with Al-Sadd in the Qatari League[5] for a fee reported by Clarín at $22 million.[6] He did not remain in Qatar long however, playing just six league games and scoring four goals, before heading on loan to English Premier League side Birmingham City.

Birmingham City (loan)[edit]

Zárate at Birmingham City.

On 21 January 2008, Zárate joined Premier League side Birmingham City on loan until the end of the 2007–08 season, with a view to a permanent deal.[7] He made his debut for the club in the 2–0 defeat at Sunderland on 29 January as a 66th-minute substitute for Cameron Jerome,[8] and made his first start on 12 March against Portsmouth.[9] He scored his first goal for the club against Reading on 22 March,[10] followed by a brace in their next match against Manchester City in a 3–1 win,[11] and a free kick that earned a draw against Everton on 12 April.[12] After a total of four goals in 14 games, Zárate left the club at the end of his loan spell, their relegation from the Premier League meaning that no extension to the loan would be considered.[13]


Zárate kicking off the 2009 Coppa Italia Final with Goran Pandev

Zárate completed a move to Lazio on 5 July 2008. He joined initially on loan, for €2.4 million,[14] with Lazio having an option to make the deal permanent,[15][16] and following a successful medical he was presented to the media a few days later.[17]

Zárate immediately endeared himself to the Lazio faithful, scoring a brace in his Serie A debut against Cagliari and dedicating the second to the Lazio supporters.[18] Zarate also scored on his home debut, with a left footed strike from outside the penalty area against Sampdoria. This rich goalscoring form continued with Zárate scoring once against Milan at the San Siro, twice against Torino and another against Siena. By mid-season however, Zárate hit a dip in form and found himself being substituted for captain Tommaso Rocchi who was returning to form following serious injury.

On 28 February, Zárate scored a brace for Lazio at the Olimpico against Bologna, the game ended 2–0 for Lazio becoming the sixth top scorer in the Serie A with 10 goals.

On 13 May, Zárate won the Coppa Italia, scoring a 4th-minute goal in the 1–1 draw with Sampdoria in the Final, and a penalty in the victorious shootout.[19] After the season ended his move to Lazio was made permanent for a fee of about €20 million, with a €60 million buy-out clause.[3] The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) later fined Lazio and suspended club president Claudio Lotito over financial irregularities around the transfer.[nb 1]

Zárate caused controversy when he was photographed apparently giving a fascist salute while watching Lazio lose to Bari in March 2010 among a group of fans, though his spokesman claimed afterwards that the player "did not realise the significance of his gesture" and did not know who Hitler or Mussolini were.[21][22]

In 2010, Zárate's transfer was involved in another controversy for solidarity contribution.[nb 2]

Inter Milan (loan)[edit]

On 31 August 2011, Zárate completed a loan deal from Lazio to Inter Milan with a view to a permanent transfer.[25] On 27 September 2011 he scored a 79th-minute winner, his first goal for the club, in an away game against CSKA Moscow in the group stage of the 2011–12 Champions League.[26] His first Serie A goal for Inter did not come until 1 April 2012, when he scored their fourth goal, a "spectacular curling right-footed shot", in a 5–4 win against Genoa.[27] He finished the 2011–12 season with three goals from 29 appearances in all competitions.[28]

Lazio return[edit]

Zárate returned to Lazio for the 2012–13 season. He made only five appearances; four in the Europa League and one in Serie A, all without scoring and he did not play for the club after November 2012.[29] In March 2013 he was fined €500,000 by Lazio. He had requested time-off to fly home to Argentina to receive treatment for a skin condition. Instead he had flown with his family to holiday in the Maldives.[30][31]

Vélez Sarsfield return[edit]

In July 2013, Zárate returned to his first club, Vélez Sarsfield,[32] without terminating the contract with Lazio. FIFA awarded Lazio eligible to receive €5.26 million as compensation on 2 July 2015, which Vélez and Zárate were jointly liable.[33] In January 2014 he was a member of the side which won the 2013 Supercopa Argentina beating Arsenal de Sarandí 1–0 in the final.[34] He finished the season as top scorer in Primera División Torneo Final with 13 goals in 19 games.[35][36]

West Ham United[edit]

Zárate signing autographs at the Boleyn Ground in October 2014

On 28 May 2014, Zárate signed a three-year contract with Premier League club West Ham United to take effect when the international transfer window opened in June.[36] On 23 August he scored on his competitive debut for the club, opening a 3–1 win away to Crystal Palace with a 20-yard volley.[37]

Queens Park Rangers (loan)[edit]

On 6 January 2015 Zárate was loaned to fellow Premier League club Queens Park Rangers until the end of the season, having scored two goals in eight games for West Ham.[38] Having made four appearances for QPR without scoring, in May 2015 Zárate reacted angrily to being left out of the squad for a game against Liverpool. His actions were deemed bad enough by the club that he was ordered to make his own way back to London and was subsequently banned and fined two weeks' wages. Such was the length of the ban, coinciding with the end of the season, this effectively ended his QPR career.[39]

West Ham United return[edit]

Zarate featured in West Ham's Europa League qualifying campaign in pre-season, scoring his first goal of the season in a 2–2 draw at the Boleyn Ground against Astra Giurgiu.[40] West Ham eventually lost the tie 3–4 after a narrow second leg defeat.[41]

Zárate scored from outside the penalty area to conclude West Ham's 2–0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their opening league game of the 2015–16 season.[42]

His deflected strike could not save West Ham from third round elimination in the League Cup, Leicester City prevailing 2–1 after extra time.[43] He continued his good early season scoring form as he scored the opening goal in the Hammers' 2–1 victory over Chelsea on 24 October, and he followed this up with a free-kick in a televised match against West Bromwich Albion on 29 November, a game that ended 1–1. [44][45]


On 21 January 2016, Zárate completed a move to Italian club Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee,[46] reported by Sky Sports to be £1.6 million.[47]

International career[edit]

In 2007, Zárate helped the Argentina Under-20 team to win the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the final against the Czech Republic.[48]

In 2008, Diego Maradona was appointed manager of the Argentine national team and declared, in light of his strong form for Lazio, that Zárate would get a chance with the national team.[49]

In 2014, Zárate opted to play international football for Chile after not being named in the latest Argentina squad chosen by manager, Gerardo Martino. He is eligible for the country through his father.[50] However, in 2015, Zárate expressly stated that he is Argentine and has always dreamt of playing for Argentina.[51]

Personal life[edit]

Zárate was born in Haedo, Buenos Aires to a footballing family. His father Sergio is a Chilean former professional footballer, who played for Independiente de Avellaneda. His mother, Catalina Riga, has Italian origins from Catanzaro in the south of the country. His grandfather Juvenal was Chilean and also a footballer.[52][53][54]

Mauro is the youngest brother of former footballers Rolando and Ariel, as well as former international Sergio who currently acts as Mauro's agent.[55]



Vélez Sarsfield
S.S. Lazio


Argentina U-20

Individual awards[edit]


  1. ^ The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) later revealed that Lazio had to pay an additional €14.95 million to a agent company, Pluriel Limited, whose sole director was Riccardo Petrucchi, in 5-year instalments (hidden in agent commission, (Italian: Costi per intermediazione tesserati)), which Zárate's salary was just €7.2 million in net in total in his 5-year contract. FIGC ruled that president Claudio Lotito and Lazio violated the third parties ownership rule re both Zárate and Julio Ricardo Cruz. They suspended Lotito for 10 months and fined Lazio €80,000.[20]
  2. ^ In July 2010, FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber passed a decision that ordered Lazio to pay an additional solidarity contribution of €726,936 owed to Vélez Sarsfield. Lazio only paid €73,442.77 corresponding to the €2.4M loan fee. They rejected Lazio's claim that the club had paid €20M to Zárate, who had then paid Al-Sadd to terminate his contract in April 2009, so that he was signed as a free agent and the €20M was not a transfer fee.[23] In February 2011 Lazio appealed but dismissed.[24]


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  49. ^,16368,15274_4482996,00.html
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External links[edit]