Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has enjoyed an excellent start to his Gunners career and it seems the Spain star is a firm favourite among former teammates - Barcelona midfielder and Spain colleague Xavi Hernandez called the diminutative playmaker ‘brilliant’.

An article in the Guardian by Spanish football expert Sid Lowe details the appreciation of Cazorla in his home country, at his former clubs, the likes of Recreativo de Huelva, Villarreal and Malaga, and among his international compatriots with Spain.

Cazorla moved to Arsenal for £12m from Malaga, a club gripped with a financial crisis the likes of which Arsenal’s board seem determined to avoid at all costs.

And the playmaker has been superb since signing for Arsene Wenger’s side, although Xavi is not surprised.

“Have you see Santi Cazorla?” the Barcelona midfielder was quoted to have said in the Guardian. “You think I’m small? He’s up to here on me and he’s brilliant.”

Cazorla is 27-years-old, leading some to question why he has not played for a bigger club before – not least Real Madrid or Barcelona in La Liga.

But the report suggests that wasn’t for the want of trying – Real Madrid in particular came closest to signing the Spaniard but Villarreal batted away the offers.

And with 50 caps for Spain, Cazorla has played a significant role in one of the greatest international sides of all time. The double European champions and World Cup winners boast a huge amount of talent in Cazorla’s position, from David Silva to Andres Iniesta, from Cesc Fabregas to Juan Mata.

Cazorla played no part in South Africa 2010, but was a member of both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 winning squads. For a player with such international pedigree it’s not hard to see why many felt Arsenal got an unbelievable bargain at £12m for Cazorla, a view it seems Xavi shares.

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