The story of Santi Cazorla is One that is Tinged with Sadness in Every Regard.
It is hard to see a player fall time and time again into the depressing cycle of injury, rehabilitation, depression and injury once again. For 32 year old Spanish international, Santi Cazorla, the year 2017 would be one he will never want to remember as it was the beginning of potentially, the end of his footballing career.
The former Malaga man has been out injured since October 2016 as he has suffered a series of nasty injuries. Cazorla is a player that is much loved at the club and even fans if other clubs as his ability, cheerful nature and overall commitment to the cause of the Arsenal project.
News emerged that the player has undergone his 10th surgery on his ankle, that may probably mean he will also miss the whole of this year due to injury. On his day, Cazorla is one of the best central midfielders in the world as his skill set of vision, creativity, passing and finishing are up there with the very best. He has had to graft skin from his arm to add to his feet, as he lost 8cm due to a gangrene infection, but his spirit is what is keeping hope alive that one day, we would still see this brilliant footballer play the football in the way only he can do.
The ambidextrous footballer is one of the players that makes Arsenal tick, as he offers balance to the middle of the park that has been missing since his absence. While the club has since moved on in his absence, what he brings to the pitch is one that the club can still benefit from as his leadership, experience and ability are needed to lead the current crop of players to a new era.
The player was emotional in an interview he had last year, as he spoke of the torment of not playing, the agony of rehabilitation and the feeling that everything he does to get back to the pitch will still end up on the treatment table. Arsenal have not been overly blessed with the avoidance of these kind of scenarios which has led to questions about the club’s medical department.
The likes of Wilshere and Abou Diaby at one point or the other have always struggled to maintain permanent fitness, which fans hope don’t happen to Cazorla. Arsenal fans have taken to the player who joined in the summer of 2012, as his displays were unexpected of a player that was not on the radar of the big clubs.
His contract at Arsenal expires this summer, but one can’t begrudge the Arsenal hierarchy if they don’t want to offer him new terms. Afterall, the club have paid his wages despite not playing for about 15 months, which in itself is a commendable fact in this world of impatient club owners and administrators. If he leaves Arsenal, he will leave as a player that gave so much, but was betrayed by his own body.
If his latest return doesn’t happen and he suffers a setback, he should be thinking of retirement. He will be missed, but as a wise man once said, “The best things in life are on the other side of fear”. It would be sad to see him go out like that.
Guest post by Mark Weasley from Retro Football News