Claudio Pizarro has retired from football as a six-time Bundesliga champion with 197 goals across 490 games in Germany's top flight. After helping Werder Bremen secure their top-flight survival, the Peruvian legend caught up with bundesliga.com…
Claudio Pizarro on…
…Bremen's last-gasp survival: "I've got mixed emotions of all kinds. On the one hand because we didn't have a great season and we weren't at our best in the two play-off games, but we're happy because we achieved our objective or staying in the league. I didn't have the chance to play in either of those games but the most important thing is that the team stayed up and now we can breathe much easier."
…sitting out against Heidenheim: "Not being able to play in what was the final game of my career was difficult, but one of the things football as taught me - and it's something I've always said - is that the team comes before anything else. It's important that the team can meet its objectives. Obviously, it's disappointing that I didn't play, but we managed to stay in the Bundesliga."
Watch: Bremen edged Heidenheim on away goals after a 2-2 draw at the Voith-Arena
…where Bremen's play-off victory ranks in his career: "It's one of the most important things that I've been involved in at this club. I've been here a lot, I've joined the club four or five times, and one of the things that always made me return is the warmth of the people, the city and the team here towards me, right from the start. I've always wanted to repay that affection with goals and titles, and I've always come back. Staying in the Bundesliga is something very special for this city. It was a very tough year, but staying up made us all incredibly happy."
…his retirement: "I've made my mind up, I'm retiring and there's no turning back. Unfortunately, my body has decided that enough is enough and now I'm going to do other things, still related to football, obviously. I don't know exactly what that'll be yet, but I'm going to take my time to think things over calmly, to analyse the possibilities and then decide. A chapter of my life is coming to an end, but a new one is starting. I'm very excited about it and looking forward to keep learning.”
…the messages he received from world football: "It’s been very emotional for me and it's been very special to receive all these messages of love and appreciation. If I forgot anyone before, now I have the chance to say 'thank you' to everyone. It meant a lot to me. It's done me a lot of good, no question. It makes me happy to receive this appreciation from the fans and my friends."
Watch: Pizarro's stellar career drawing to a close
…his advice for youngsters: "There are lots of situations that present themselves and I think it's very important to have certain qualities. It's not enough now to only have the right quality; you need to work a lot harder because football's becoming increasingly competitive. You need to be prepared at all times and work hard, because quality on its own isn't enough - you see a lot of that in Europe. You need to have clear ideas because it's not easy to come to Europe and leave your family behind, your food and all those things."
…being a role model: "I've had a big influence. Obviously, when I arrived here, there weren't many Peruvians in Europe. There were two or three in Spain and someone over in Greece. I came here and things started to go well, and European teams started to look more intently at Peru. In a way I forged the path a bit for other guys to come here, and that goes for Latin Americans in general I think. It was very important for us to leave home and show the quality Peruvian footballs have here in Europe."
…Bayern and the Champions League: "Having seen them up close this season, I think Bayern are looking really strong right now. They've got a great team and could win the treble this season too. The only thing that concerns me is the break the players are going to have after the league finished; they'll have 12 or 15 days and I don't know if that'll be helpful or not. It's very important that they keep the spine of the team for the next few years and keep passing on their values to the players that arrive. That's what gives them the balance to continue getting to finals."
…the development of the sport: "This is something I try to talk about with young players. Football is very dynamic and obviously it's changed a great deal. A few years ago, talent was enough for you to make it, but now there's a lot more psychological and physical work that goes into it all - that's very important at the elite level. My only worry is that you lose a bit of the game as a spectacle, that players sort of end up being machines that can be controlled by an iPad during training. I hope the game keeps developing, without losing the essence of the players or the fans."
…unfinished business: "There's always unfinished business. I've said it a lot, but not going to the World Cup with Peru was very tough, and there were other situations that were difficult for me. But things happen the way they do for a reason and I'll always be involved in football. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do, but maybe I'll be able to make amends for those things in future."
…a possible testimonial: "It's obviously not possible with the pandemic going on right now, but we did have the idea to do it here at the Weserstadion - it'll happen here. We don't know when, because obviously I'd like to do it with a crowd there."