One midfield magician. One contract extension clause. Sadly, one waste of time.
For the many fans of the man, the footballer, the larger than life figure of Santiago Cazorla Gonzalez, the time has come to abandon hope against hope of the man making a seamless return to Arsenal’s first eleven. It was always a tall task, but after hearing of his seemingly undefeatable struggles with his Achilles tendon and the near 10 surgeries it has taken him to get to this point, it’s best for the man who is poetry in motion to hang it up.
It sounds defeatist, but at times in life you are just defeated. It doesn’t mean you should give up, but it does mean you should pick another battle.
If he does still make a comeback against steep odds (Europa League anyone?), one would hope it’s to sign off on a fabulous career that weighs heavier in the mark he made amongst his fans as a person than the many mesmerising performances we’ve seen. The one against Manchester City in that 2-0 win on January 18, 2015 will stand out as a clinic of precision, calm, poise and the display of a ridiculous gift of guile and swagger.
He may not have been at the very pinnacle, but he wasn’t far off. Santi’s legacy is one that will grow in time, for players of his ilk and class are a rare breed. The way he played the game should be a hallmark and a state of mind and of being that footballers should aspire to. He’s a man that simply cannot be hated. If you hate him it says more about you than it does about him.
A supremely technical, slippery and silky footballer in full flight, Santi truly came into his own as a deep-lying playmaker for Arsenal after a very good stint further forward until he lost his shot. Injuries have been persistent as a plague of locusts for the best two-footed player in years. It’s now time to call it a day if even to go into semi-retirement. We’d love to see the man who doesn’t know a frown in management. Who knows?
For Arsenal, though, the time is now for renewal and for his successor to finally live up to the billing. Enter Jack.