Santi Cazorla: When Arsenal hero proved he's the most two-footed player in PL history

Santi Cazorla truly is a wonderfully gifted footballer.

The diminutive Spaniard is an absolute wizard with the ball at his feet and was electric for much of his time at Arsenal.

Cazorla joined the north London outfit from Villarreal in the summer of 2012 and hit the ground running.

In his first full Premier League campaign, the 37-year-old finished with 12 goals and as many assists from 38 appearances.

Cazorla was duly named Arsenal’s Player of the Season for 2012/13 and he was unlucky to miss out on a spot in the PFA Team of the Year.

It’s a real shame the tail end of the former Spain international’s stint at Arsenal was curtailed by a serious achilles injury, one which nearly forced him into early retirement.

But fans of the English game will always have fond memories of Cazorla, his superhuman-like ambidexterity in particular.

Santi Cazorla celebrates a goal vs Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 02: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on September 2, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The little genius is one of the most two-footed players the sport of football has ever seen and in 2016, he made that clear for everyone to see.

In a Premier League match away at Watford, Cazorla stepped up to take a corner with his ‘stronger’ right foot, but his teammate Laurent Koscielny felt an inswinging delivery would be better suited to the situation.

So instead of swapping takers, Cazorla simply adjusted his position and whipped the ball into the box with his left peg.

Check out footage of the incident here…

Video: Cazorla takes corner vs Watford with his ‘weaker’ left foot

That right there is the true definition of a ‘two-footed footballer’. Cazorla was just magnificent to watch and he’s deservedly still adored by Arsenal fans to this very day.

Back in 2015, the Spaniard spoke about his unique ambidexterity in an interview.

“I have always preferred the right foot, ever since I was younger I was a little bit hurt in my right ankle once, and that is when I started to use my left foot a lot more,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“Being able to use both feet is something that came quite naturally to me ever since I started playing. However, it is something I continuously work on in a very strong manner to ensure that my level never gets any lower.

“Everything comes from a base of hard work. After training sessions I would stay an extra half-an-hour and kick the ball against the wall with my weaker foot over and over again to make sure it becomes stronger and better. Players should remember that everything comes from hard work.”

Santi Cazorla celebrates a goal vs Aston Villa
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 23: Santi Cazorla of Arsenal celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

What happened to Cazorla?

After leaving Arsenal in 2018 following the aforementioned injury issues, Cazorla rebuilt his career at Villarreal – the team he’d left six years earlier.

Cazorla’s performances in his homeland even saw him recalled to the Spain senior side in 2019. He made four appearances across that year, scoring one goal.

The midfield maestro is now out in Qatar with Al-Sadd. In the 2022/23 season thus far, Cazorla has contributed a goal and an assist from six appearances.

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