Juan Antonio Pizzi

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Juan Antonio Pizzi
J.A. Pizzi.JPG
Pizzi as manager of Universidad Católica in 2011
Personal information
Full name Juan Antonio Pizzi Torroja
Date of birth (1968-06-07) 7 June 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth Santa Fe, Argentina
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Rosario Central
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1990 Rosario Central 57 (27)
1990–1991 Toluca 30 (12)
1991–1993 Tenerife 68 (30)
1993–1994 Valencia 19 (4)
1994–1996 Tenerife 73 (46)
1996–1998 Barcelona 48 (11)
1998–1999 River Plate 17 (6)
1999–2000 Rosario Central 28 (19)
2000 Porto 11 (3)
2001 Rosario Central 28 (11)
2002 Villarreal 13 (1)
Total 364 (160)
National team
1994–1998 Spain 22 (8)
Teams managed
2005 Colón Santa Fe
2006 Universidad San Martín
2009–2010 Santiago Morning
2010–2011 Universidad Católica
2011–2012 Rosario Central
2012–2013 San Lorenzo
2013–2014 Valencia
2014– León
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Pizzi and the second or maternal family name is Torroja.

Juan Antonio Pizzi Torroja (born 7 June 1968) is an Argentine retired professional footballer who played as a striker, and current manager of Mexican club León.

He spent the bulk of his club career in Spain, mainly at Tenerife, helping to the side's consolidation in La Liga and amassing top division totals of 221 games and 92 goals over the course of eight seasons – he also played for Valencia and Barcelona.

Born in Argentina, Pizzi represented the Spanish national team for four years,[1] appearing with it in one World Cup and one European Championship. After retiring, he embarked on a managerial career.

Club career[edit]

Born in Santa Fe, Pizzi started his professional career with Rosario Central, before transferring to Mexico's Deportivo Toluca FC. After only one year he moved to CD Tenerife, experiencing great individual success (30 goals in his first two seasons combined) while also helping the Canary Islands club qualify for the UEFA Cup in his second year.

This performances prompted interest from fellow La Liga side Valencia CF, and his subsequent purchase. However, highly unsettled, Pizzi returned at the end of the campaign to his previous team and in the second season in his second spell he fired the team into another UEFA Cup qualification, topping the goal charts at 31 in 41 games, also good enough for the European Golden Boot.

After that, Pizzi transferred to FC Barcelona: never an undisputed starter, barred by Ronaldo, Sonny Anderson and the versatile Luis Enrique during his two-season stint, he managed to net 11 times in the league alone, being very popular among the Nou Camp faithful.

With Barcelona he won the Spanish Supercup in 1996, the UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey in 1997, conquering the latter again in the following year, in which he also won his only league title. Arguably, his most memorable moment was the decisive goal in the 5–4 home win over Atlético Madrid in the domestic cup's quarterfinals second leg, after the Blaugrana trailed 0–3 at half-time.[2]

Subsequently Pizzi returned to Argentina to play for Club Atlético River Plate, then had an unassuming spell in Portugal for F.C. Porto. After starting 2001–02 back with Rosario he signed with Villarreal CF for its closure, as the club had lost to a severe leg injury countryman Martín Palermo.

After his retirement, aged almost 34, Pizzi played polo in the Barcelona region, then started his coaching career. Together with José del Solar he managed Argentine first division's Club Atlético Colón at the beginning of the Clausura 2005, but both were sacked after three losses in the first three matches.

On 13 April 2006 Pizzi became the coach of Club Deportivo Universidad de San Martín de Porres, in the Peruvian top level.[3] He returned to his country of birth five years later, working with Rosario Central and San Lorenzo de Almagro and winning the 2013 Inicial with the latter.[4]

On 26 December 2013 Pizzi returned to Valencia after 20 years, being appointed manager.[5][6] His first game in charge was on 4 January of the following year, a 2–0 derby home win over Levante UD.[7]

Pizzi was sacked on 2 July 2014, after new owner Peter Lim took over. It was the first time in 16 years that Valencia had failed to qualify for Europe, after an eighth-place finish.[8]

International career[edit]

Pizzi gained 22 caps for Spain and scored eight goals, his debut coming on 30 November 1994 in a 2–0 friendly win with Finland. In the following year, on 20 September, he helped beat his country of birth Argentina 2–1, in an exhibition game played in Madrid.[9]

Pizzi was part of the squads for UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. In the latter, after replacing Fernando Morientes in a 0–0 draw against Paraguay as Spain exited in the group stage, he retired from the international scene.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 18 January 1995 Riazor, A Coruña, Spain  Uruguay 1–0 2–2 Friendly
2. 6 September 1995 Los Cármenes, Granada, Spain  Cyprus 3–0 6–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
3. 6 September 1995 Los Cármenes, Granada, Spain  Cyprus 5–0 6–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
4. 20 September 1995 Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain  Argentina 1–0 2–1 Friendly
5. 13 November 1996 Heliodoro Rodríguez, Tenerife, Spain  Slovakia 1–0 4–1 1998 World Cup qualification
6. 12 February 1997 Rico Pérez, Alicante, Spain  Malta 4–0 4–0 1998 World Cup qualification
7. 3 June 1998 El Sardinero, Santander, Spain  Northern Ireland 1–0 4–1 Friendly
8. 3 June 1998 El Sardinero, Santander, Spain  Northern Ireland 2–0 4–1 Friendly




Pizzi in action with Rosario Central in 1987




Universidad Católica
San Lorenzo



External links[edit]