Santi Cazorla produces masterclass during Villarreal 4-4 Barcelona

  • Rob Swan

It wasn’t long ago that Santi Cazorla’s career in professional football appeared to be over.

Back in November 2017, having missed so many games through injury over the previous couple of seasons, the Spanish playmaker admitted that doctors had said he would be lucky to walk again, let alone play on the elite Premier League stage with Arsenal.

“If you get to walk again with your son in the garden, be satisfied, they told me,” Cazorla told Marca, per the Telegraph.

Cazorla, who had undergone eight operations, feared he would even lose his right leg after his agonising injury nightmare left him with gangrene.

And after failing to play a single game for the Gunners during the 2017-18 campaign, it came as no surprise when Arsenal decided against renewing his contract last summer.

But despite his awful luck with injuries and his advancing years – Cazorla turned 34 in December – Villarreal decided to re-sign the Spain international following a successful trial last August.

Remarkably, against all the odds, Cazorla has managed to play 31 games for Villarreal already this season.

And his latest game – against league-leaders Barcelona, no less – was arguably his standout performance for the Yellow Submarine.

Cazorla pulled the strings for most of the night and was instrumental in helping Villarreal, who currently find themselves just outside La Liga’s relegation zone, take a shock 4-2 lead by the 80th minute at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

Football fans on social media were left purring over his masterful performance – and you can watch his individual highlights from the match here (skip the legal notice at the beginning of the video).

Now let’s look at some of the best tweets about Cazorla’s display…

Sadly for Cazorla, though, there was no happy ending for the home side.

Two goals in the dying minutes from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez rescued a point for the Catalan giants, leaving Cazorla and his teammates crestfallen in the process.

They were seconds away from sealing a famous victory which would have boosted their chances of avoiding relegation, but threw away their two-goal advantage.

Still, take nothing away from the performance of Cazorla, who created eight chances during the 90 minutes – the joint-most chances created by a player in a single La Liga game this season.

It’s wonderful to see the lovable midfielder playing at his best level again.

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