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Santi Cazorla rolling back the years is a sight all football fans can appreciate

The diminutive little Spaniard has had a torrid last few years, but Barcelona were at his mercy on Tuesday night

Now this is a sight for sore eyes.

Just nine months ago Santi Cazorla was barely capable of walking, his career lying in tatters.

Eight operations on the same ankle and gangrene on the affected area left the ex-Arsenal man staring down the barrel of an early retirement.


Cazorla’s foot was on the front cover of Marca last year

Cazorla’s foot was on the front cover of Marca last year

Yet here we are, in April 2019, with Cazorla showcasing the same mesmeric ball control and vision from his Gunners heyday against arguably the best team in the world.

The diminutive little Spaniard ran the show in the pulsating 4-4 draw with Barcelona on Tuesday night, creating eight chances for his team-mates including one sumptuous assist for Carlos Bacca.

That equalled the record for chances created by a single player in a La Liga game this season.

Messi learning a few things

AP:Associated Press
Messi learning a few things

This was Cazorla at his finest; pulling the strings from a deep-lying playmaker role and offering a teaching masterclass to Sergio Busquets and Arthur in the Barca midfield.

The 34-year-old’s capacity to effortlessly shift from right foot to left foot, most famously on corners, was on display too for Bacca’s goal.

After a deft one-two with a team-mate and a shimmy into space, Cazorla threaded a sublime pass with his weaker left foot for the Colombian to run onto and finish expertly.

Watch Bacca’s strike, and the rest of the goals, below:

That made it 4-2 with just over 10 minutes remaining – but Villarreal couldn’t cling on.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez’s late, late goals denied the Yellow Submarine a famous win and deepened their relegation worries.

Agony at the end

Getty Images - Getty
Agony at the end

They sit just two points above Celta Vigo in 18th having played a game more as the season enters its crunch period.

Regardless of the result, just seeing Cazorla fit, firing and feeling happy again will bring joy to Arsenal fans in particular.

After all he’s been through, he fully deserves this renaissance back where it all began for him at youth level.