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What was the world like the last time Santi Cazorla played a football match?

Cazorla has finally returned to the pitch after 636 days injured

In heartwarming scenes Santi Cazorla is back playing professional football after 636 days out.

The Spaniard was at risk of losing his right foot after the Arsenal medical had been treating it for two years.

The last time he played an actual game of football since October 19th 2016 against Ludogorets in the Champions League.


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A beautiful sight

EPA
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A beautiful sight

And two years is a long time in football.

There had been plenty of false dawns that Arsenal’s saint might be returning to the pitch but in the end they couldn’t pay him to be injured any more and shipped him back to the Yellow Submarine.

But what was the football world like the last time Cazorla played football?

Here’s a list to remind what was happening in football the last time Santi put his ambidextrous feet on a football pitch.

The last time we saw him

PA:Empics Sport
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The last time we saw him

Kylian Mbappe had scored only one league goal

Look how young he is

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Look how young he is

Mbappe was bursting onto the scene at Monaco as a 17-year-old.

He had bossed it for Monaco II but two years ago he had scored just a single league goal, against Troyes in Feb 2016.

In doing so he broke Thierry Henry’s record to become Monaco’s youngest ever goalscorer.

Now he’s the most expensive teenager in the world, the most exciting talent in world football, oh yeah and a World Cup winner.

Like I said, two years is a long time. 

Paul Pogba was a myth at Man United

We prefer the smiley Pogba

Getty - Contributor
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We prefer the smiley Pogba

The French midfielder had just moved to United as the most expensive player in the world, at the time.

Everyone was expecting him to dominate the Premier League and bring the liquid football we’d seen at Juventus to England, and then he was Jose Mourinho’d.

Coming off the back of a defeat in the final of the Euro 2016 with France and managing just one goal for United between the start of the season and October, all was not well in Pogba’s world.

People were questioning his talent and United fans were desperately asking Jose to find the receipt.

Fast forward two years and everything has changed.

Pogba is one of United’s most important players, chipping in with 12 assists and six goals last season, and he had a brilliantly successful World Cup for France.

Pogback.

Jadon Sancho was an almost unheard of youth product at Man City

That suits you

Getty - Contributor
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That suits you

OK people still had their eye on Sancho but he has possibly come the furthest in the last two years.

He had never made a first team appearance in professional football but was an England youth regular.

Sancho followed the now well-trodden path to Germany, to become the youngest ever English scorer in the Bundesliga and generally tore it up dropping backheels and assists all over the place.

He became a World Cup winner with the England U17 side last summer and there were genuine calls for him to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup as a left-footed option.

The future’s bright… the future’s Sancho.

Arsenal looked like they might actually win the league

There’s not enough Wenger Out signs around anymore

PA:Press Association
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There’s not enough Wenger Out signs around anymore

Ah remember the heady days of October 2016 Arsenal fans?

Arsene Wenger had just blown the budget on Granit Xhaka and Shodran Mustafi for a combined £65million and you still had Cazorla pulling strings in midfield.

The season was surpassing expectations only losing once until December, looking like they might mount a genuine title challenge and drawing home and away to Unai Emery’s PSG.

And then injury struck Cazorla and it all went downhill pretty much from there.

Wenger serving a four-match ban and back-to-back defeats to Everton and City setting them back in the league.

These days Wenger might have finally moved on but who knows what Arsenal are going to be like this year?

England hadn’t ever won a World Cup shootout

You beauty

AP:Associated Press
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You beauty

No one would admit to being a fan of the English national side in October 2016.

The boys had just lost to Iceland in the last-16 of the Euros and they were a national embarrassment.

To make matters worse, much worse, Sam Allardyce had just been appointed to take England into a new era.

But forget all of that, now England have Southgate, we won an actual World Cup penalty shootout and we made it the semi-final for the first time in 28 years.

Life is good and welcome back Santi.