Santi Cazorla's career already seemed to be over after his bad injury in Arsenal's dress. The doctors predicted the worst for him, but the noble technician never gave up – and as a 34-year-old he even played in the Spanish national team again.
Santi Cazorla has the letters "I, n, d" on the forearm, "i, a" adorns the heel. What once symbolizes the daughter's name forever on the arm today symbolizes his long and almost hopeless suffering. And so it happened:
At the end of 2016, Cazorla sustained a serious injury in a Champions League match with Arsenal against Ludogorez Rasgrad. After 20 minutes, he got an ankle strike, continued to play in pain and risked his entire career. Then he was not in the square for 636 days.
Cazorla underwent ten surgeries – skin was transplanted from the forearm to the heel because an infection there had eaten up large parts of his tissue and almost caused an amputation. Skin on which daughter's name is written. "I'm like a jigsaw puzzle," he said in a 2018 interview Guardian"It's actually a wonder that Cazorla can joke today about the injury that his former coach Arsene Wenger described as the worst he's ever seen.
Often Cazorla wanted to give in: "I said to the family, 'It's over. Tomorrow I'll tell Juancar's physics that I can't go on.' He never gave up, even though the doctors had little hope. "Forget about playing football! Concentrate better on getting back to a normal life so you can walk or play with your kids one day," they said. But he never forgot to play football, and it should be worth it.
Now Cazorla is 34 years old, a regular player in home club FC Villarreal, as he has already scored four goals this season, including a fantastic against FC Barcelona, and three assists. And he is even back in the Spanish national team which he will face Norway on Saturday (08.45 am live on DAZN). He shines again with all the skills that had excelled him before the injury.
Santi Cazorla: fan favorite at Arsenal
Cazorla never corresponded with the classic prototype of a real world star: he was too small, too slender and too slow, and was often jawed out in his youth. What he lacked in physical attributes, however, he compensated with sophistication, overview and understanding of the game.
After many successful years at Villarreal, Cazorla turned his back on the home club in 2011 and joined the new rich FC Malaga, where he played with strong achievements in the focus of the major clubs in the world. A season later, he switched to Arsenal and immediately became a fan favorite there. He impressed with delicate, almost effortless ball handling. "His skills on the ball are incredible to watch, but it's much better to stand next to him," enthused ex-teammate Per Mertesacker.
But then the damage. Arsenal supported the fan favorite as much as possible, extended even his contract in the meantime, but he should never play for Arsenal again. After the 2017/18 season, he left the club and returned to Villarreal.
Santi Cazorla near Villareal: the magic returns
Thousands of fans flocked to the stadium to see his homecoming live – and they were not disappointed. A magician blinked and smoked a huge glass tube in the middle of the madrigal before he aroused applause from the crowd Cazorla rose from the smoke"I had to hide sweat in this dense jar for 45 minutes. My back hurt," Cazorla remembered Guardian, "The presentation was great, but I figured I still couldn't play Saturday."
No way! Cazorla started the following game, played 47 competitive games throughout the past season, scored seven goals and eleven assists, and flourished in a top performer and captain. The extension of the contract, which was originally valid for only one year, was a matter of form. His current contract runs until 2020, but it should not stop there. Cazorla has a few months as a football player.