Villarreal dropped into the relegation zone in La Liga on Sunday as Santi Cazorla missed an 89th-minute penalty that would have given them a draw and kept them out of the drop zone.
Villarreal lined up against Real Betis knowing that they could not lose, but that’s exactly what they did, going down 2-1. The defeat leaves them on 30 points in 18th place.
Against Barcelona in their last game, Cazorla had created a season-high eight chances in what ended as a 4-4 draw, but his trusty right leg let him down when it really mattered on Sunday.
After the game, the former Arsenal fan favourite was visibly upset:
He also tweeted to say, “The feeling of guilt that I have is not taken away from me but I will get up x my colleagues and the whole family
@ VillarrealCF there are 7 final and together it is the only way to get it # Endavant”
Speaking before the game, Cazorla had revealed that there have been no talks about extending his contract with Villarreal as he wanted to concentrate all his attention on making sure they avoid the drop. His current deal expires in the summer.
“We will see the future,” Cazorla said. “I do not propose to negotiate anything because the first thing to do is save the team, there is no player more important than the club, and now speaking about contracts, I think it is a lack of respect for what the club is going through.
“Today we do not have anything on the table,” Cazorla continued. “As soon as we achieve the goal (of securing their La Liga future), we will all sit down to see the options and what is best for each one.”
In another interview with Mundo Deportivo, he added, “Every game is a final and that makes us suffer a lot, fighting to be saved has nothing to do … The injury was my suffering, but this is the suffering of many people and a club that you want, I would even sign for not playing anymore and that the team will be saved.”
I’m not sure there was anyone on the planet, apart from Santi, who felt the midfielder could make a return to the top level of football after almost losing his foot following surgical complications.
Arsenal let the 34-year-old leave at the end of his contract, Villarreal snapped him up and they haven’t been disappointed.
Four goals and seven assists in 27 La Liga games, Santi has averaged around 73 minutes per game domestically this season.