His quick feet, often able to dribble out of tight spaces for clubs including Birmingham, West Ham, and Watford in the Premier League delighted his fans.
Zarate, 31, has since resurrected his career in Argentina, starring for Copa Libertadores runners-up Boca Juniors this term.
But it's not just his football ability that is cherished in his home county, it's his missus that also makes headline news.
Natalie Weber, also 31, has been by Zarate's side since they began their romance in 2010.
They married a year later, and have since had two children called Rocco and Mia.
However, it's her sexy snaps she shares on social media that have got her most noticed by the Argie tabloids.
Often showing off her curves in a tight bikini, the lingerie and swimwear model flaunts her WAG life on Instagram.
And that could explain why she has scored a massive amount of fans - including 210,000 followers at last count.
Weber regularly appears on Argentinian TV to share her lifestyle and motherhood tips.
And most recently, she's caught the dance bug - appearing on Argie telly in dancing competitions, scoring her even more popularity.
Boca Juniors stars' team bus was attacked by River Plate fans before their crucial Copa Libertadores tie.
Being a footballers' wife, Weber wasn't afraid to speak up about what could've been a tragedy revealing how she rang Zarate up to find out if he was ok.
"I asked Mauro if he was hurt and he told me that he was not but that there were other players who were.
"He was half unconscious and vomiting because of the gas that came in. The truth is that it could have been a tragedy what happened".