He’s the last to get into the stadium. Claudio Pizarro is greeted by 40,500 voices singing “PIZARROOO-OHOOOO” to him with all their hearts in the sold-out Weser Stadium. And the sung smiles. Naturally. Every footballer present who is asked that evening what makes the most successful foreign player and the oldest Bundesliga goal scorer says the same thing: his smile, his charisma, his positive attitude.
Pizarro, now 43 years old, appears for three different teams on his farewell evening, which had to be postponed to autumn 2022 due to the pandemic: Claudio’s Amigos, FC Bayern and Werder Bremen. Three teams packed with Bundesliga legends: Arjen Robben, Giovane Elber, Markus Rosenberg and Naldo – just to name a few.
During the preparations for Pizarro’s farewell game, Werder’s stadium announcer and football museum incarnate Arnd Zeigler noticed that the Peruvian was described as 1.84 meters tall on FC Bayern’s autograph cards, while Werder’s gave him two centimeters more. Zeigler concludes that Pizarro is simply a bit bigger in Bremen. Even Pizarro’s mother says that she feels a special love for her son in Bremen.
Of course, “Pizatoni” is also part of the nostalgia of the evening
For a whole generation of Bremen fans there was no Werder without the regularly returning Pizarro. For many, this game is therefore also a farewell to a time when the team in green jerseys played the most beautiful football. Even when Pizarro was winning titles with Bayern, there was Johan Micoud, for example, who scored the most elegant goals in the club’s history. And the French winemaker is of course at Claudio’s Fiesta. This farewell game is also an opportunity to commemorate a time that will never come again.
“Pizatoni” is also part of the nostalgia of the evening. Claudio Pizarro and Ailton Gonçalves da Silva pass the ball as if it were 1999 again. At that time, 20-year-old Pizarro had just arrived in Germany from Peru. in the Interview with the sweetGerman newspaper he said that his congenial partner was already fed up with Werder Bremen and wanted to leave for Brazil. The prospect of going forward with Pizarro convinced Ailton.
Werder Bremen’s marketing department didn’t miss the opportunity to sell a pizza cutter for the occasion. It belongs to a whole special collection with a Peruvian touch. The highlight: a reversible jersey in which all of Pizarro’s successes are written in the pattern. There was a greater rush for this than for the fashionably argumentative, salmon-colored away jersey of the current season.
A current copy with the number 14 and Pizarro’s name would certainly be popular. “He’s the only player I’ve ever asked for a jersey,” says Mario Gomez. Gomez is responsible for the most beautiful goal of the evening. Goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald, a representative from Werder’s unstable times, released the short corner and Gomez puts the ball past him so beautifully that a goal by a player in Bayern jersey was celebrated with a LaOla in the Weserstadion – probably for the first and last time .
Jan Delay rewrites one of his songs for Pizarro
But Pizarro combines both worlds: he plays poker with Max Kruse, but he messes with Phillip Lahm. Giovane Elber put it this way: “The fans have always hated us and that was so nice.” Elber shoots what is probably the first corner of his career in the farewell game and prepares a goal. When asked what he should think about with Pizarro, the 50-year-old replies: “Fun, great footballer and Oktoberfest”. Of course, the birthday party at the Wiesn that his coach at the time, Ottmar Hitzfeld, was not at all impressed with. While Elber indulges in this anecdote in the TV interview, he misses the kick-off to the last game of the evening, no matter what. All games end in a draw.
“It was exhausting, I haven’t played for 60 minutes for a long time,” explains Max Kruse, who is currently just watching in Wolfsburg. In terms of play, the legends “never lost the feeling on the ball,” Kruse continues to analyze. Bicycle kicks, Rabona, Panenka, everything is tried (even if little succeeds). But Pizarro dances the most beautifully across the pitch, even two years after the end of his career in the summer of 2020. He scored four goals to say goodbye, and when he was substituted at the last minute, things got emotional.
“One never walks quite like that” by Trude Herr rang out from the speakers and tears ran down Pizarro’s face. A short, devotional moment, but then singer Jan Delay jumps out of the catacombs and heralds the next phase of the fiesta with his slightly modified hit “Pizarro makes that clear”. Of course, Delay also sings his declaration of love for the club, saying it slightly pathetically: “We have the rain on our faces, but the sun in our souls.” And the sun in Bremen’s soul is sure to smile like Claudio Pizarro.