Arsenal great Robert Pires said that he could see Villareal and Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla’s potential early on in the latter’s career. 46-year-old Pires played for four years at Villareal after his trophy-laden years with Arsenal and Cazorla had made his senior debut for the LaLiga side during the former’s last year at the club.
“I remember when I saw Santi Cazorla train for the first time,” the former French midfielder told LaLiga TV. “It was a long time ago! But after the first training session, I said to the coach, Manuel Pellegrini: “Manuel, who is this guy?” He said, “Santi Cazorla… why?” He was so good. What a talent. Great skills. Could play with his right, with his left. Good vision.”
Cazorla also went on to join Arsenal where he became a crowd favourite and played for six years. However, he spent the last two years of his time at the Emirates Stadium recuperating from what was effectively a career-ending injury. He returned to Villareal in 2018 and has worn the captain’s armband ever since.
“And look at him now. He’s been a huge success. In LaLiga, in the Premier League, now back in LaLiga with Villarreal. He’s stronger, and he’s captain. That’s Santi Cazorla,” said Pires.
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