Santi Cazorla was unveiled as a Villarreal player on Thursday in a ceremony fitting the little magician’s talent and remarkable recovery.
Cazorla was released by Arsenal this summer after failing to overcome an Achille’s problem that almost cost him his leg.
Most expected the midfielder to have to hang up his playing boots, something he was advised to do by medical staff, but Santi was determined to give playing again at the top level his best shot.
After spending a month in pre-season with his former club, Cazorla did enough to convince the Villarreal management team that he deserved a 12-month contract (with an option for a second 12 months).
Speaking after the ceremony, Cazorla said, “When I left, I always knew I would return.
“Only for this moment has it been worth so much suffering.
“I thank Villarreal, not only for opening the doors when I was 18 but for having felt their support in these difficult times and opening the doors again.
“I have to enjoy the moment. But I am demanding and I want to keep improving. I still have pains and I want to take them away and be better. I think I can improve my level in the future.”
I won’t lie, I teared up as I watched the video above of Santi being unveiled. As much as I would love to still have him at Arsenal, just to see him back on the football pitch is remarkable and I can’t wait to watch him play again – no matter that it’s not in Arsenal’s shirt.
You rarely get what you deserve in football, but Santi Cazorla deserves this.