Santi Cazorla says he’d love to return to Arsenal in some capacity but for now he’s happy making the most of a playing career that at one point looked close to a premature end.
The 34-year-old is set to earn his 80th cap for his country on Friday night when Spain play Malta. Given doctors were worried he might never kick a ball again and that he didn’t have a club when he left the Emirates, it’s a remarkable turnaround for the diminutive playmaker. After proving his fitness during a pre-season spell with Alaves, he signed for former club Villarreal prior to the start of last season and ended up playing 46 games in total.
Cazorla was a crowd favourite throughout his six-year spell as a Gunner even having his name sung during a 21-month spell on the sidelines. While Arsene Wenger stuck by him when an infection complicated his recovery from an ankle problem, he never had the chance to say a proper goodbye to supporters. While it’s an obvious regret, he’s hoping his relationship with Arsenal isn’t over.
“When you are at a big club like Arsenal, sometimes you don’t realise what it means to be there until you are gone,” he told the Independent.
“I never got to say a proper goodbye. It was the biggest team I played for in my career and I miss everything about Arsenal.
“I don’t know what my legacy is there, you would have to ask the fans, but I want to say thank you to them all. I would like to play at the Emirates one last time before I retire.
“I don’t know what I will do afterwards – maybe a coach, maybe a sporting director – but I would love to go back to Arsenal. I lived in London for six years. My son loved it there. In the future, we will see if I have the possibility.”
Few fans would disagree that on his day Cazorla was one of the best players to wear the Arsenal shirt in the fledgeling Emirates-era. Boy, how we miss his creativity these days.
We look forward to seeing him in London soon.
Read the full interview, here.