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Chelsea's pizza looks tasty


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Guest Brian M

Looks like JM's going to have his hands full! 156.gif

Chelsea's pizza looks tasty

Marcus Christenson

Sunday July 1, 2007

The Observer

The Bavarian police officers took another look just to make sure, but there it was: the breathalyser clearly showed that the Bayern Munich striker Claudio Pizarro, who had been on his way home from a night out at last year's Oktoberfest, was over the limit. Not by much, but this was the second time in 10 months that he had been caught for the same offence. He lost his driver's licence and was hit by a hefty fine by his club.

Two days later, he scored the first goal as Bayern Munich defeated Inter Milan 2-0 at San Siro in a Champions League group game. It was the German club's first away win in Italy for 19 years and the rollercoaster 48 hours was typical of the Peruvian. He is an uncontrollable maverick - he explained the drink-driving episodes by saying 'the problem is not that I drink, but that I drive afterwards' - but he is also a wonderful footballer. At the moment the 28-year-old is captaining Peru at the Copa America and next month he will start his first Premiership season after joining Chelsea on a free transfer in June. He could be the shrewdest signing made all summer.

His team-mate at Bayern Munich, Mehmet Scholl, called him 'the best player in the Bundesliga, simply complete', while his former coach at Bayern, Felix Magath, said: 'He has everything a world-class striker needs. He is a great finisher, he can dribble and also come up with a great pass. His qualities also make him a very good attacking midfielder. If he avoids injuries he is one of the best strikers in the world.'

Pizarro, whose nicknames in Germany included the 'Bomber of the Andes', the 'Inca-kaiser' and 'Pizza', joined Werder Bremen from Alianza Lima in Peru as a 21-year-old in 1999. He scored 10 goals in 25 games in his first season and after a further 19 goals in the following campaign he moved to Bayern, where he won three league titles and three German cups in six years.

However, it seemed that after every goal - he scored 100 for Bayern and Werder - or match-winning performance there was a controversy lurking. There was the drink-driving, but also a ?10,000 club fine for suggesting, in the papers, that Bayern should play with two strikers rather than one. Then there was the time he was suspended by Peru for going back to Bayern before a game against Chile and the constant accusations that he cared more about his appearance than his football. Tagesspiegel wrote last season that 'the Peruvian is doing something to his hair so often during a game that one could think that he is more concerned about that than playing the game'. And when Magath ranted about the amount of time the Bayern players spent in front of the mirror putting gel into their hair, it was clear that Pizarro was one of the main culprits (the others were Roque Santa Cruz and Pizarro's new Stamford Bridge team-mate Michael Ballack).

The criticism, however, was extremely harsh and behind the controversial headlines Jose Mourinho will find a dedicated and motivated player who leads a stable life with his wife, whom he married in 1999, and their three children. He is desperate to win the Champions League - he joined Bayern in the summer after they won the tournament in 2001 - and believes he can fulfil his dream with Chelsea. 'I am coming with the only aim of scoring for Chelsea,' he said. 'I am humble, but my aim is also to repay the confidence Jose Mourinho has shown in me. Chelsea are a club with great strikers, but there is no pressure on me in this respect. I know the club has great players, but I'm going to fight for my place and work hard to be in the first team. I want to be part of a team that wins the Champions League.'

Mourinho phoned Pizarro to congratulate him after he had scored his hundredth goal in Germany and also gave Newcastle's Nolberto Solano a ring to get the lowdown on the player. 'I am very grateful for what Solano said in that conversation,' Pizarro said after signing his four-year contract with Chelsea. 'The first thing I'll do when I'm in London is invite him for a meal.'

Pizarro will have a busy first few months in the capital because he has also promised to dedicate time to his main passion outside football: horse racing. He missed the first race of his two-year-old filly, Raymi Coya, as she won by a length at Lingfield last month, but will make up for that when he moves to England. 'She is doing really well,' said Raymi Coya's trainer Marco Botti last week. 'Unfortunately Claudio wasn't able to see her first race, but he is hoping to be there for the next one. He is a nice lad and very into his horse racing. He doesn't phone me every day to check on what I am doing, he trusts us, but we speak every two weeks because he wants to see how she is doing and how she is progressing.'

Pizarro is delighted that he is moving to England - 'the home of horse racing' - and owns more than 30 horses in Argentina. On the same day as Raymi Coya won at Lingfield, Pizarro was also able to celebrate Teamgeist winning in Buenos Aires. He said: 'To start with it was just a hobby for me to enjoy myself and get away from the stress [of football], but I began taking it more and more seriously. Now I have a satellite dish that just picks up the horse-racing channels and I keep up to date with what happens in the United States, and I can also follow all my horses on the internet.'

For the next few weeks, however, his focus will be on the Copa America. On Wednesday, Pizarro inspired Peru to a surprise 3-0 win against Uruguay in their first group game, giving his country a superb chance to qualify for the quarter-finals. His energetic performance, supported by PSV Eindhoven's Jefferson Farfan and Hamburg's Paolo Guerrero, produced the tournament's best attacking display until Argentina demolished the United States 4-1.

'We have footballers of experience in the Peru squad,' Pizarro said. 'Some of us are also young, but we are focused on our aims. We plan to compete and go as far as we possibly can. We're simply not interested in staying on the margins of this tournament.'

He will arrive at Chelsea with a similar mindset: Pizarro has not come to England to simply make up the numbers. Now it is up to Mourinho to get the best out of one of the most talented strikers in world football.

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Although the cynics amongst us might ask if he's that wonderful why was he consigned to the bench at Bayern at the end of his time there?

Lets hope he works a damn sight harder than Ballack did, who only in the last few months of the season looked like he was willing to break sweat for the team.

This sense this could either turn out really well for Jose or be a total disaster - there will be nothing in between.

At least he didn't cost anything to buy that's one thing in his favour.

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Guest Brian M
This sense this could either turn out really well for Jose or be a total disaster - there will be nothing in between.

That's true. And let's face it; so far, JM's batting average with his signings isn't exactly up to CR's when it comes to buying well. Though with Essien, Mik and Drogba now coming good, his record is looking better than it was.

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Yes his batting average has not looked good until you factor in Drogba, Essien and Mikel.

It's not like Wenger who seems to have that cast iron ability to pluck players who will work for his team seemingly out of nowhere.

Then again Fergie has had a few horror signings in his time too, no one is perfect (although Wenger often gets close).

Guess in the end it's all a fickle business in the player transfer market, buying one successful signing turns you into a genius manager whilst one dud and in the eyes of the press and fans and you're losing your touch.

Jose is still on a steep learning curve in terms of top flight management and having a huge budget to play with. Guess having too many choices makes it just as difficult in a way as when lack of cash means you have a more limited set of options to go for.

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Don't let the media fool you into thinking Wenger barely puts a foot wrong in the transfer market.

So far the jury is still out on Rosicky and Adebayor

Senderos is very average, Reyes never settled (granted you can't out the blame for that at Wenger's door), Van Persie is still to impress on a consistent basis, as is Clichy, Lupoli is rubbish, as was Cygan.

Millions were spent on Richard Wright, Wiltord, Jeffers and Edu.

I'm sure there are others if I thought about it longer.

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Then again Fergie has had a few horror signings in his time too, no one is perfect (although Wenger often gets close).

Wenger gets it wrong just as often as Mourinho and Fergie. It's just his smart enough to make gambles at the cheaper end of the market, that way his successes look astounding and his mistakes are quickly forgotten. That may sound more like a public relations startegy than a transfer one, but its worked really well for him and Arsenal thus far in general.

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Then again Fergie has had a few horror signings in his time too, no one is perfect (although Wenger often gets close).

Wenger gets it wrong just as often as Mourinho and Fergie. It's just his smart enough to make gambles at the cheaper end of the market, that way his successes look astounding and his mistakes are quickly forgotten. That may sound more like a public relations startegy than a transfer one, but its worked really well for him and Arsenal thus far in general.

I wouldn't have said that forking out ?13,000,000 for Silvain Wiltord was exactly great business - and hardly at the cheaper end of the market.

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don't think the jury is out on rosicky at all, and adebayor... well let's say, I'm impressed... he wasn't a player I rated much at all but I think he's improved a fair bit. I can't remember many strikers giving JT so many problems at the bridge recently.

what wenger does, is buy young players well, and buy players that suit the way he wants to play the game more often than fergie or jose IMO.

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Seems like I've opened a can of worms suggesting Wenger has an almost perfect transfer record!

Qaz:

Wenger gets it wrong just as often as Mourinho and Fergie. It's just his smart enough to make gambles at the cheaper end of the market, that way his successes look astounding and his mistakes are quickly forgotten. That may sound more like a public relations startegy than a transfer one, but its worked really well for him and Arsenal thus far in general.

You make a good point there, if they are expensive flops then people really notice but if they're cheap no one bothers about it so much.

But then the press seem to criticise everything about Chelsea's transfer policy good or bad for much of the time any way.

I think for most top line managers who can't be scouting players themselves in the end it's sort of "hit and hope" with the vast majority of transfers, even supposed dead certs with established reps (look at Sheva). On paper yes they can look great, fit the profile, tick all the boxes and you get them over here and they either flunk the test or take to the league like a duck to water.

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But then the press seem to criticise everything about Chelsea's transfer policy good or bad for much of the time any way.

Who cares what they say?

At the end of the day, all the opposition fans and stuff want is for Chelsea to make moves which aren't in the best interests of the club so they have a better chance of beating us.

I think for most top line managers who can't be scouting players themselves in the end it's sort of "hit and hope" with the vast majority of transfers, even supposed dead certs with established reps (look at Sheva). On paper yes they can look great, fit the profile, tick all the boxes and you get them over here and they either flunk the test or take to the league like a duck to water.

Yes, but i'd also add that sometimes it takes a 2-3 even 4 seasons before you see the best of a player. I remember very of us stuck by Drogba through the bad periods. Hell, even I was starting to question his role at Chelsea around this time last year and I (along with Star) have been one of his biggest supporters.

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All this talk about Pizza is making me hungry. And I don't even like Pizza.

You don't like Pizza Moos? Why not? I have an idea! Get wasted! ..and the next morning/afternoon call to your local Pizzaplace and order a pizza with salami and garlic +plus whatever you like. I think you will see Pizza in a new 'loving' way.

Talking about our new favorite Pizza-rro. He looks to be really good, though I never doubted him. His first header is great. Firing header out of nowhere. Of course those commentators don't give the new Chelsea player that much credit by insisting that the marking was awful. Pizza seems to be a handful for the defenders. Just can't wait to see him beating Carragher/Agger/Ferdinand/Vidic & Co in the air next campaign.

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Of course those commentators don't give the new Chelsea player that much credit by insisting that the

conspiracy.gif

I watched most of the game, and they spent a good deal of time saying how chelsea fans would be smiling, running through how many quality players we have... etc.

could it be that the marking actually wasn't great?

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could it be that the marking actually wasn't great?

Well, actually my knowledge about the marking in that particular game is based on those clips, so it isn't much. Probably Bolivia's defenders aren't as good as they should be against someone like Pizzarro but especially that first Pizza's header is great IMO and isn't it possible that if an attacker is bad the defenders look good and vice versa.

Personally I'm not into all of these conspiracy theories or everybody hates Chelsea. I actually should have put icon_wink.gif there, but I didn't for some reason.

But I really believe Pizza is a great addition to our squad. He could be really good in his first season with us.

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