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Footballers often have a preferred club throughout their careers. Some stay at one club for the entirety, some settle after a period of movement, whilst a select few always seem to return to one club on numerous occasions. For Werder Bremen, that player is much lauded Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro.
Having broken through at Peruvian powerhouse Alianza Lima, Pizarro had earned the attention of clubs throughout Europe, ultimately deciding that Die Werderaner was the best place for the next move of his career. Pizarro’s first spell in the Green and White of Bremen highlighted his abilities to an even wider audience, the striker finding the net 38 times in 76 matches. Bremen might have been the European club to allow him to flourish, but the allure of the Champions League proved too much for the Peruvian, with him joining Bremen’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich after two seasons.
After a prosperous spell in the Bavarian capital and a less than stellar one in the English capital with Chelsea, Pizarro returned to Bremen at the start of the 2008/09 season, initially on loan before signing permanently. His first spell for Bremen was highly productive, his second managed to surpass it.
His 89 goals in just 144 matches – including being UEFA Europa League top goalscorer in 2009/10 – represent a remarkable achievement and show the enduring quality which the Peruvian possessed. It was also during this second spell playing for the club that he became the leading foreign scorer of all time in the Bundesliga, surpassing Bayern legend Giovane Élbar’s record of 133 goals.
His exploits upon his return to Bremen once again caught the attention of Bayern Munich, whom he rejoined in 2012, going onto to win three additional Bundesliga titles to add to the three he won in his first spell at Bayern, as well as adding the Champions League at the end of his season back in Bavaria.
After three seasons at Bayern, it was announced that Pizarro would once again be signing for Werder Bremen, the third time in his career. His third spell only lasted two extra seasons, with widely differing fortunes in each. The 16 goals the Peruvian managed during the first of those seasons represented a useful haul for the club, but he could only manage a solitary goal the following season, leading to Bremen not renewing his contract.
The 2017/18 season was unkind to Pizarro and his new club FC Köln, with the pair being relegated from the Bundesliga. Again it was a season during which he only found the back of the net once, and it appeared as though Pizarro’s skills had declined. This apparent diminishing of ability was not enough to dissuade Bremen from offering Pizarro one last deal, one which would enable him to see out his career with the club he has always performed for.
So far this season, Pizarro has managed to find the back of the net twice, raising his total goal tally for Bremen to 147 goals in just 281 matches, an impressive feat for any striker. The love affair between both club and player is clear, and Pizarro has always managed to find a way to perform for Bremen, elevating his status beyond that of a mere top quality goalscorer, to that of an undisputed club icon.