Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has received an emotional send-off after having played his last match for Villarreal. Twenty-gour hours later, his move to reigning Qatar Stars League champions Al Sadd was confirmed. The club is managed by former international teammate Xavi.
The very experienced Spaniard feared for his ability to walk after a horrible Achilles tendon injury but has since then revived his career. At 35-years-old, he seems back to his best, and post-playing career opportunities are lining up.
Santi Cazorla Moves to Reigning Qatar Champions Al Sadd
Back to His Former Self
After a near career-ending injury, Santi Cazorla turned it around, signing for Villarreal in 2018. The creative midfielder has since then scored 22 goals, with 22 assists, in all competitions for the club. At 35-years-old many players look to retire but Cazorla was blessed with a return to football which he will not waste.
After playing his last match for Villarreal, a 4-0 win against Eibar, and helping the club achieve fifth place in La Liga, the veteran has brought to an end his time in Spain. The next day, the official Al Sadd Twitter account tweeted: “Welcome Santi to our club. Wish you all the best and that we can get many titles together. Thank you very much!”
The reigning Qatar Stars League champions are managed by Barcelona legend and fellow Spanish midfielder Xavi. This connection should facilitate his move to a new country. Cazorla will look to continue his good run of form, and potentially add medals to his cabinet.
For the 35-year-old midfielder, the playing years are counted as football takes a toll on his body. Nevertheless, a plethora of possibilities have arisen for the veteran. Mainly, he could join Mikel Arteta‘s coaching staff at Arsenal.
Whilst the Arsenal boss has “not yet” held talks with his fellow Spaniard, he has praised him in an interview. He expressed that his “opinion of Santi cannot be any higher. Personally, first, with the type of person he is and what he brings to that dressing room, but then also as a player for what he did throughout his career.”
“About the coaching role and the future, we will see what happens. Right now, he’s just finished [at Villarreal] so let him enjoy that moment and we’ll see what happens in the future”, Arteta mentioned.
Santi Cazorla is looking to extend his career by joining Al Saad for the next season. His experience could also be used long-after his playing days if he chooses to undertake a coaching job. Still, his playing career has been a great success, both at club and international levels.