Zárate turns down World Cup chance with Chile
Former Inter Milan and Lazio striker Mauro Zarate, the top scorer in the Argentine league this year, has turned down an offer from Chile to be part of their World Cup squad.
Zarate's father is Chilean, which makes the forward eligible for the South Americans, but he said he dreamt of one day being picked by his native Argentina.
"It was a difficult decision saying no to Chile but I can't kill off the dream of playing for Argentina," the 26-year-old told TyC Sports after being approached recently by Chile's Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli.
Zarate, an under-20 World Cup winner with Argentina in 2007 with Sergio Aguero as his strike partner, was also approached by Italy, his mother's home country, in 2009 but turned them down.
He is being kept out of contention for Argentina's likely squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil by the quality of coach Alejandro Sabella's preferred forwards Lionel Messi, Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio.
Zarate returned to Velez, his first club, last July after six years abroad in Qatar (Al-Sadd), England (Birmingham City) and Italy (Lazio and Inter).
He scored five goals for Velez in the Inicial championship and leads the charts in the Final with a tally of six after seven matches.