Santi Cazorla says he feels like a footballer again, for the first time in a while, after returning to the training pitches with Villarreal in pre-season.

Cazorla hasn’t played a football match since 19th October 2016, when he went off early in a 6-0 win against Ludogorets. Though we’ll have to wait a bit longer for his competitive return, he’s at least making his comeback in training, taking part in pre-season with Villarreal after being released by Arsenal in June.

The Spaniard had his trademark smile back on his face in his most recent post on social media, and wrote that he’s “happy to feel like a footballer again”. However, he added that there’s “a lot of work ahead”, which he is ready to undertake “with more enthusiasm than ever”.

After everything the midfielder has put in to get to this point, you can understand why he’s so pleased just to have a chance to get back out there with his new club.

Santi still has obstacles to overcome ahead of him, and it’s hard to say if he can return to his previous impressive level, two years on. Nonetheless, just seeing a smile on his face should put one on the faces of most Arsenal fans. Hopefully pre-season is a success, and he can push on from there.