Santi Cazorla has admitted that he has regrets over how his Arsenal career ended, with the lack of a chance to say goodbye to his former supporters leaving a scar that he may never ‘get over’.
Injury curtailed much of the Spaniard’s time in north London, as a serious Achilles problem that required eight operations and skin grafts left him questioning his future in football.
A remarkable turnaround has seen 35-year-old Cazorla not only take to the turf once more, but thrive back in La Liga, where he has scored eight goals this season for Villarreal.
However, his final match for the Gunners came during a Champions League tie against Ludogorets at the back end of 2016, as the midfielder’s injuries began to take a toll and he was never able to properly bid farewell to the club.
“Yeah, it’s a big regret that I don’t know if I will get over,” Cazorla told Marca. “Let’s hope I can play there one day with whichever team it may be and I can thank them for the love that they’ve always shown me and keep showing me.
“Last summer, I had the chance to play in the Emirates Cup, but it didn’t happen in the end and it was a shame. Let’s hope those doors open for me.”
Cazorla’s return to football has been nothing short of spectacular. His first season at Arsenal (2012/13) saw him net 12 goals in all competitions – his highest tally in a single campaign – but now aged 35, he’s already hit that target with the Spanish side.
Juan Roman Riquelme netted 17 for the club in a single campaign, a target Cazorla could emulate. The Spaniard was quick to laud the efforts of the former Yellow Submarine star, claiming he’s the best he’s ever played with.
“There’s still time to try [to beat] it and the numbers are there,” he added. “I have to say that Roman has been writing to me a lot recently and he’s really happy for me, for how well it’s going and that I’m scoring goals.
“He was a reference point for me and for this club. Remember that I’ve played with very good players throughout my career, whether that’s with Villarreal, Arsenal or Spain, but, for me, Roman was the best of the lot. A different player who won games by himself and I’m lucky to have played with him.”
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