Cazorla glad to get back on the pitch but opens up about ongoing pain

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Santi Cazorla played his first game of football since October 2016 when he turned out yesterday for Villarreal in a friendly against Hercules.

The former Gunner got 15 minutes at the end of the game, after enduring a nightmare of injuries, infections and complicated surgeries which have cost him almost two years of his career.

The 33 year old was obviously delighted to make his comeback but revealed he’s still got some way to go to feel normal again.

Speaking to the official Villarreal website, he said, “It is hard to express what it feels like to be out on the pitch after so much time.

“To feel like a footballer again, to feel the love of the people and the reception they gave me.

“People tell me that I have to assess where I am now and where I was 20 months ago and to think about what I have gone through.

“I am only thinking about getting rid of the pain as soon as possible because I am not enjoying what I am doing.

“I want to train with my colleagues again and to feel like a footballer.”

It’s been a hugely traumatic experience, and I’m sure all Arsenal fans will wish him well as he continues on his difficult road to full recovery – if he ever gets there.

Good luck, Santi!

Check out the latest Arsecast and a great interview with Philippe Senderos

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Pedant

So sad, such a great smiley skilful guy that I’d love to be playing for us still.

Good luck to him.

Tapps

Given the choice between a fully fit, pain free and happy Santi (even at Villareal) and winning the title, I’d choose the former.

Sean

Get the sentiment, Tapps, I really do. But I want the title. I WANT THAT TITLE. And to win the title in a season when Sari’s at Chelsea, Pep’s trying to complete a back to back, Klopp’s strengthening his squad, Mourinho is still a force ETC. It’s been 15 years Tapps. But I get the sentiment.

Anshul

Love the way you conveniently ignored Sp**s!

Bob Dobbery

We’re worried about Sarri now? Napoli played good football but they were never really in danger of winning the title

Gereoma

Nonsense!

midgunner

My favourite player of the last decade. A joy to watch.

Best of luck Santi!

David C

my favourite player since King Henry! Just an absolute joy to watch. How was no one else in for him when we got him so cheap, unreal.

I hope he has a great couple of years to end his career. I think he’d make a good coach (assistant at least) because of his fantastic and positive attitude.

Jeleel

I think we went for him as a last resort after missing out on Juan Mata who had reportedly had a medical with us.

Maxin In The Shade

It’s a credit to him that he’s still able remain positive after all the mental/psychological anguish and ongoing physical pain

Rich

My favourite Arsenal player since 2012 and certainly our most talented and influential in the Emirates era, he was a real joy to watch.

SteveC

A true Arsenal great! Good luck Santi. We will never forget you.

Jdhd

How did he do?

mynk

I think he also now wears the non-player loose fitting jerseys now 😀

No Longer Laughing Stock

I fucking love that little bastard. Keep going Saint Cousins

Zonda

Oooooooohhhh Santi Cazoooooooooorla!!!
I hope he gets through the final stages of recovery, and if he does well – what a magic!

shokim

Best of luck Santi! You’re always happy when playing. So glad to see you back on the pitch.

Batgooner

Not very advisable to play against ‘Hercules’ just after returning from injury.

santori

Great player. Hope he gets another season or two with yellow Submarine.

high gooner

ARSENAL LEGEND

I AM ARSENAL

Diaby, Rosicky , Santi , Jack how many have to end in tears and heartbreak.

eternalflamini

I think David Silva put it best when he said he was a fantastic footballer and an even better person. Santi’s smile as much his mad dribbling skills were enough to cure the blues.