Evergreen Werder Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro leapt to the rescue and earned his side a dramatic 96th-minute equaliser at Hertha Berlin, becoming the Bundesliga’s oldest ever goalscorer in the process and drawing high praise from his coach, as well as the man whose record Pizarro broke.
His sneaky free-kick delivered a 1-1 draw that may prove vital come the end of the season. Even if not, it will be forever remembered as the strike that made Pizarro the league’s most seasoned scorer.
In a career littered with all manner of goals, Pizarro admitted that he had never scored one like his latest historic effort.
“We decided to shoot in under the wall because they jump high. It worked. I never scored a goal like that in my career before,” the Peruvian said.
“I never expected in my life that I would have such a record. But I still have the desire to play football and enjoy every moment - and of course the goals, too.”
Watch: Pizarro's record-breaking goal against Hertha
While colleague Max Kruse jokingly told reporters that he suggested to Piza before the free-kick that he "didn’t have the strength” to score the set-piece “at his age”, coach Florian Kohfeldt was more earnest and described his squad’s elder statesman as “incredible”, adding Pizarro is “still an unbelievable player”.
Aged 40 years, four months and 13 days old, Pizarro broke former Werder midfielder Mirko Votava’s 22-year record by 15 days and, according to the latter, there was no better man to knock him off his perch.
“I couldn’t imagine a more worthy successor than Claudio,” Votava told Kicker. “He’s a great guy and a sporting phenomenon. I’m delighted for him, and he knows that, too.”
It was Pizarro’s third league goal of the campaign and saw the former Bayern Munich and Cologne forward become the first player in Bundesliga history to score in 21 consecutive seasons.
As if that wasn’t enough, it was also his 195th in the Bundesliga; a return that ensures Pizarro remains the greatest foreign marksman in German top-flight history, with former ally Robert Lewandowski (on 193) made to wait at least another week in his bid to dethrone Pizarro.
And the six-time Bundesliga winner doesn’t plan on making it easy for the Pole to take his crown.
“I think Lewandowski is coming from behind to break my record,” said Pizarro. “I’ll simply keep trying to score a goal and help the team when I come on.”