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Ask me about David Pizarro

El Pek said goodbye to football

Ask me about David Pizarro El Pek said goodbye to football

This weekend gave the farewell to football one of the most quietly important players of the last years of Seria A: David Pizarro.

In Serie A he has dressed the shirts of Udinese, Inter, AS Roma and Fiorentina. In all of them he was made to love and was able to provide an important contribution of quantity and quality, a combination that few manage to maintain in perfect balance at such high levels, for so long.

Each of us has a version of the team that cheers that considers more “of his own" of the previous and subsequent incarnations.

There are some Giallorossi fans that keep in their heart (and in their minds) the memory of the first Spalletti's AS Roma yet: that of the endless run,never satisfied, for the fourth championship, that of the two Italian cup won one year among the other. In addition to a Totti in his prime and a De Rossi object of desire of half the world, that was an exceptional team for the presence of many players who will not go down in history as the two above, but who moved the balance even though not incredibly flashy or pumped from the hype like today.

In that Romanist midfield, David Pizarro, "el Pek" - diminutive of pequeno - was an almost unavoidable element: wanted by the same Tuscan manager, with whom in Udine he had definitely established himself in the role of director in front of the defense, after the beginnings as a forward midfielder in Chile. One meter and sixty eight but a rocky physique and above all a garra that would make Vecino and Adani the dreamer became pale.

If I talk about Pizarro as a player of Roma and Spalletti it's not just for my faith, but because in these days it's the same player, interviewed by a Chilean newspaper, to have affirmed:

"AS Roma is my second skin. The manager who influenced me the most in my career? Luciano Spalletti".

Spalletti was the first coach to understand his potential and to retreat his position in the pitch, in an operation not new to him: very similar indeed (but on the contrary) to that turned years later with Naingolann, advanced from the median to the trocar and thus transformed into a total and dominant midfielder.

Pizarro became fundamental in that Udinese who in 2004-05 managed to conquer a historic qualification to the Champions League and then was the beating heart at the center of the of one of the most innovative and fun modules of the last years, that romanist 4-2-3-1 Romanist in which there was another extraordinary intuition of the Tuscan manager, Francesco Totti as a “falso nueve”.

Observing today the highlights of his actions, we immediately realize why Pizarro is the object of worship by anyone who has been able to observe him play with a minimum of constancy. In those years, at the top of the form, the most striking thing about the "pek" was the safety at the limit of the unconsciousness with which he played each ball. The ball was always glued to the feet, it circled around it like a planet and he was an asteroid finished in its orbit, absolutely inseparable - often creating like mini fractures in the race, moments in which there seemed to be only him and the ball, like two dancers who are totally abstracted from the context in which they are dancing and focus only on their partner, creating a moment only for them that almost makes us embarrassed to watch.

Who tried to face the little Chilean, invariably ended up being discarded and confused by the dances he made on the ball, his dribblings, sometimes in areas of the field that dwarfed his fans. Often he stood with the ball at his feet for an immeasurable time that seemed almost superfluous and baroque, but that in reality was only a way to put into effect his other great merit, those necklaces as precise as a Swiss watch that went to cut often the whole field, perhaps catching the full-back running on the opposite side (there is an emblematic assists for Riise in a historic match against Juventus).

The very low center of gravity and the great physical strength meant that in holding the ball for so long the chances of losing it were practically reduced to zero, and so he managed to get all the time necessary to raise his head and observe the movements of his teammates: once choosing the best solution, he got rid of the ball with innate ease. Looking at today's Rome, it’s crazy to think how much a player with these characteristics is missing, a pure director who "draws football" - a role now on the verge of extinction.

Here is the other great motivation behind the cult for the Chilean. He had an incredibly defined style of play, expressed between two eras. In a moment, the first part of the 2000s, in which the game of football ran fast towards the evolution that is now strongly outlined today. That transition from the capital importance of technical and tactical heritage of the '80s and '90s (especially in our league) to the prevalence of the physicality of the players, of the very high rhythms. Pizarro found himself in the middle of this era of change and as only the great champions can do, he always managed to express his game, without distorting it but at the same time never being out of place or out of time. The withdrawal that reaches the threshold of forty years is a prime example of this, despite, as he himself said, the moment had really come:

"It's coming for everyone, it's arrived for me too. For a personal matter, it's me that I leave football, and not vice versa, regents? No, but it's still a difficult thing, because most of the people I spoke to, including Universidad, asked me not to withdraw".

A more than conscious decision, that makes you smile if you put compared to that of his friend Totti, whose merit in the same interview is in fact questioned, after explaining that the former captain of AS Roma called him before the withdrawal of his:

"Yes, because he had mixed feelings. He said stop, he did not want to do it, so the situation was, 'I want to retire,' but this was in opposition to what he was doing at that moment He wanted to go on and I wanted to stop. you talk to as a classmate, then you finally make the decision".

He then revealed his intention to return to Italy, a country in which he left his heart but which is also a professional choice: Pek wants to become a coach and knows that there are no better schools than the Italian one to do it. In his career he won a lot, almost with every team in which he played: a Scudetto, an Italian Cup and a Super Cup with Inter, two Italian Cups with AS Roma, a Premier League in 2012 thanks to his six months at Manchester City and even the 2015 America's Cup with his Chile, an historic trophy conquered by la Roja led by Jorge Sampaoli in the final against Argentina. In his palmarès even a youth championship with Rome, thanks to a presence in the youth team during those months in which Luis Enrique never let him on the pitch - but that has never been a reason for protests, bad mood or resentment towards the environment of Roma.

A footballer and a man of great class, unique from different points of view, a great man, sober and absolutely loyal to the shirt, a great worker at the service of whatever color he was wearing. A footballer who we’ll miss a lot, which we hope in the near future to review the direction of a team of Serie A, obviously not on the field but on the bench.