Claudio Pizarro has played under some of the best in the game, won just about all there is to win and is the Bundesliga's highest ever foreign scorer. The Peruvian talked to DW ahead of his 40th birthday on Wednesday.
DW: A 40-year-old footballer. Isn’t that too old? Or are you like Buffon, who says he feels better at 40 than he did 5 years ago?
Claudio Pizarro: I feel good. I’m not sure if I feel better than five years ago, but I do feel good. I had a great preseason and I overcame a few small problems I had that are totally fine now.
I keep playing and they [Werder Bremen] obviously brought me here because they think I have the chance and the ability to contribute to the club with my skills on the pitch.
On the other hand, they also appreciate my experience. They think I can be very useful in helping the young players and maybe anticipate some situations before others do.
DW: Eight years later, with 192 goals, you are now ranked the Bundesliga’s fifth highest goalscorer off all time. So what's left to work towards?
Holding this record, because Lewandowski is catching up fast. So I want to score some more goals to make it harder for him. Of course, with the team, our goal is to qualify internationally, either for the Champions League or the Europa League.
DW: You’ve won many titles. Is any one particularly special for you?
The Champions League, without a doubt. It’s a special trophy for every football player in Europe.
I aspired to win it for years. I got the opportunity to return to Bayern Munich the same year they had lost the final to Chelsea. And I really thought it would be the year. I watched them and said from the very start: this team is going to win the Champions League.
Three or four of us joined the team and I remember from the first talk I had with Jupp Heynckes, who was the coach at the time, that the objective was to win the Champions League. That was a very special year because we won every title we could possibly win.
Pizarro has the most appearances of any foreign player in the history of the Bundesliga. But does he fear the moment when he'll have to quit?
Not at all. For many years now, I’ve known that it’ll happen at some point. But I still feel I’m capable of continuing and that’s one of the things I talked about with the coach. I didn’t come here to take a stroll or to have fun without contributing anything. I am here because I want to continue playing football. Because I believe I can help on the pitch and that’s what I want to do.
In 2016 Claudio Pizarro became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the German League. And this season, he became the Bundesliga’s third oldest outfield player ever. Let’s see if he can sum up his long career with some brief answers…To start, who is the best player he ever played with?
The best striker you’ve played with?
The most difficult goalkeeper you’ve faced?
The toughest defender you’ve played against?
Difficult, difficult. There are several… John Terry
Claudio Pizarro has made 450 Bundesliga appearances in two spells with Bayern Munich, four with Werder Bremen and a brief stint at Cologne. In that time, the Peruvian striker has scored 192 goals, the most of any non-German player in the league. He's played under Pep Guardiola, Jupp Heynckes and Jose Mourinho, the latter during a one season stint at Chelsea in the Premier League. He's also won 85 Peru caps, scoring 20 international goals.
This interview was conducted by Javier Perez de la Cruz