Who can forget the glory days of Santi Cazorla at Arsenal?
The word ‘magician’ is tossed about far too recklessly these days but, when it came to the diminutive Spaniard, it couldn’t be more apt.
In 180 appearances for Arsenal, he bagged 29 goals while also notching up 45 assists – but those numbers simply don’t tell the full story.
Cazorla was one of the true puppet masters of the game, pulling the strings in Arsene Wenger’s midfield with frightful ease and grace.
It’s hard to think of a calmer head when on the ball than Cazorla’s and even harder to think of anyone who could then do with the ball what he could.
His vicious, eagle-eyed vision was one of Arsenal’s most menacing weapons at a time when they were regularly competing for silverware.
However, while it is his passing game – alongside some of his more memorable finishes – that draws all the praise, we would be remiss not to mention his stunning close control.
Never has there been a man more capable of digging himself out of a hole in a matter of a few touches than Cazorla.
At times, it was almost as if the ball was glued to his feet as he regularly sent opposing defenders to the shops with out so much as a “how do you do”.
Now, a brilliant montage has emerged on Twitter showcasing some of Cazorla’s finest moments of close control during his career at the Emirates and it makes for special viewing.
World class ball retention, ability to control game tempo & play killer passes.— Balogunner (@BaIogunner) April 11, 2020
Santi Cazorla is special. 🇪🇸pic.twitter.com/RlKXwy29Ws
Fantastic – no wonder he was deeply loved on the terraces at Arsenal.
Sadly, injury would cut his Gunners career short but he showed his immense character after coming back to make a real impact at Villarreal.
He may not have been a bona-fide headline grabber, but there can be no denying that Santi was one of the best ballers the Premier League has ever seen.