Claudio Pizarro: Loveable rogue with a great scoring instinct
A loveable rogue is exiting the sporting stage. At the age of 41, Claudio Pizarro is hanging up his football boots. The Peruvian is drawing a line under an unbelievably impressive career full of countless successes. In four different decades he has demonstrated his skills in the Bundesliga and now leaves it as the record-holding non-German player (490 appearances) and a six-time German champion.
Nine defining years at FC Bayern
He pulled on the FC Bayern shirt for nine years - and if you look at his homeland, you can see that this spell left its mark. At his stud farm "Quatorze" (named after his favourite shirt number) there are horses named Gerd Müller, Allianz Arena, Marienplatz or Oktoberfest.
From Peru via Bremen to Munich
Check out our gallery where you can see the best pics from Pizarro's time in Munich.
It was without doubt the most successful time in the father of three's career. Besides winning half a dozen Bundesliga titles, he lifted the DFB Cup five times and was part of the legendary 2013 team that won the treble. His early years in professional football were, of course, in his native Peru. He made his debut at the age of 17 for Deportivo Pesquero and after a year with Alianza Lima, Werder Bremen tempted him to come to Europe and the Bundesliga in 1999. On the Weser river, the striker was an instant success, and soon attracted the attention of FC Bayern. Finally, in 2001, the technically-skilled striker moved south and immediately won the Intercontinental Cup with the men from Munich.
Thrilling playing style and lots of goals
Pizarro thrilled the fans with his refined playing style, great goals and absolute ruthlessness in front of goal. "The mixture of drive, strength in the air as well as technique and understanding of the game was extraordinary," recalls his later team-mate Thomas Müller. "He was one of the most talented players I have ever seen. A brilliant, magnificent footballer - it was a pleasure to play together with him," Philipp Lahm also enthuses.
Pizarro the people person
The enthusiastic card player, who loves a game of *Schafkopf,*stayed until 2007 and returned to Munich in 2012 after spells at Chelsea and back at Werder Bremen. He then helped shape one of Bayern's most successful phases until his final departure in 2015. In addition to his playing skills, Pizarro also impressed with his manner off the pitch. The striker, who always had a ready smile on his face, made a great contribution to the special team chemistry. "His great strength in the dressing room was that he could play alongside anyone. That made him the link between all the different parts of the team, which was very impressive. He was also the glue that held the dressing-room together," Lahm emphasised.
Impressive stats in FCB colours
Coupled with his instinct for goals, this made the rogue, as he was known for his wily playing style, so incredibly valuable. "When he plays, he always plays well and gets his goals," said Arjen Robben, putting it in a nutshell. In 2010 he became the most successful non-German scorer in the Bundesliga and it took until 2019 for him to be caught up by Robert Lewandowski. In his nine years in an FCB shirt, Pizza made 327 appearances and scored an incredible 125 times.
Face of the Bundesliga
"At FC Bayern I was taught the will to win titles. That did a lot for me," said Pizarro, acknowledging the importance of his time in Munich. After two more spells in Bremen and an interlude at Köln, it's now all over. So one of the faces that shaped the Bundesliga is now leaving, and it's one that people will always remember with pleasure. "Football deserves people like Claudio," Pep Guardiola once said, and he could not have put it better.
Champions League winner, German champion and DFB Cup winner! In 2013, Bayern swept the board, also thanks to Pizarro: