Choking back the tears Mauro Zárate admitted that he broke promises when opting to sign for Boca Juniors instead of boyhood club Vélez Sarsfield but there has been no sympathy in Liniers, only cries of treachery and threats.
Zárate has now officially been unveiled as Boca Juniors’ third signing of the window after the striker decided against making his move from Watford to Vélez permanent.
A successful loan back at Vélez during the first half of 2018 saw Zárate score eight times in 13 matches and with his contract agreed and promotional photos taken, the 31-year-old was expected to form an important part of Gabriel Heinze’s plans going forward.
However, a last-minute change of heart caught Vélez unaware and Zárate, swayed by the opportunity to play in the Copa Libertadores and force his way into the Argentina squad, instead decided to sign with Superliga champions Boca.
— Boca Jrs. Oficial 🏆🏆 (@BocaJrsOficial) July 6, 2018
A product of Vélez’s academy, Zárate helped the side to the Clausura title in 2005 before leaving for the first time but has since enjoyed two loan spells back at the club. Everything was set for the latest to be made permanent and so the club and its supporters feel angered and betrayed by a player who had been idolised.
Verbal abuse in the streets and threats made against his family, Zárate’s bond with the club is broken and even his brother (and presumably now former agent) Rolando criticised the move.
“Mauro stuck a knife in my back. I am destroyed,” Rolando Zárate told Fox Sports.
“He betrayed the whole family and the 40 years of history that we have with Vélez. I want to cry. We were born at Vélez, we grew up at Vélez and my old man has worked here for 40 years.”
Regardless, Zárate has made his decision and while chances of winning the Copa Libertadores and slim hopes of gaining Argentina recognition are increased, so too is competition.
Boca’s already stacked squad is even more impressive now and should Cristian Pavón remain at the club, Zárate competes with Darío Benedetto, Carlos Tevez, Ramón Abila, Edwin Cardozo and recent signing Sebastián Villa among others for a starting role in the attack.
— Boca Jrs. Oficial 🏆🏆 (@BocaJrsOficial) July 5, 2018
It isn’t just in attack where Boca have been reinforcing and despite the six-month long pursuit of Gustavo Gómez hitting yet another snag, Guillermo Barros Schelotto did manage to complete the deal for one of his former Lanús defenders, Carlos Izquierdoz.
The 29-year-old arrived from Santos Laguna after lengthy negotiations and a fee believed to be in the region of $8 million.
The arrival of Izquierdoz could finally see Lisandro Magallán leave the club with the defender having completed his Ajax medical weeks ago but Boca never finalising the deal.
Whether that depends on the arrival of Gómez remains to be seen because as it stands the Paraguayan’s protracted transfer is off again and so Magallán or Goltz will line up alongside Izquierdoz in Boca’s first choice central defence.
Another of Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s priorities was supposed to be the signing of Jonathan Silva but the left-back, who spent the 2016-17 season at La Bombonera on loan, now looks set to sign for Leganés.
With Frank Fabra set for an extended period out injured, Emmanuel Mas will be Boca’s first choice left-back.
The club are still in the market for a goalkeeper but Liga MX club Tigres have put a hefty price on first choice Nahuel Guzmán.