It’s Santi Cazorla out, Unai Emery in at Villarreal, a state of affairs that will no doubt chill the soul of Arsenal fans…
It’s the end of an era in Spain, as Santi Cazorla bade farewell to Villarreal this week.
Really any time Cazorla spent playing in Spain was something of a miracle, after the injury problems that really should have ended his career, but there was a sense of sadness among the Totally Football Show panel this week, partly at where he was heading, and partly that he couldn’t have stayed for a little longer.
“Cazorla is going to Al-Sadd, the team of Xavi Hernandez,” said Alvaro Romeo. “He’s scored 16 goals in all competitions this year, and I wish La Liga had seen a bit more of him.
“Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Juan Mata: all those midfielders that maybe weren’t as important for the Spanish national team as Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Xabi Alonso, but they’d been away for a number of years, and Spain hasn’t seen enough of them.”
Julien Laurens chipped in: “It makes me sad that Cazorla is going to the Middle East, I know he’s 35 but the story is so amazing. The way he came back to play football when some doctors were telling him he’d never walk again. Then to have such a great season in La Liga, finishing fifth, and then to go to the Middle East…
“I love him and he’s a great guy, and if he wanted to take one last big cheque I understand it, of course, but the whole thing was such a miracle, so beautiful…”
Alvaro confirmed that Cazorla was indeed a good egg: “He’s one of the loveliest footballers I have ever met.
“Last summer he had the chance to go to Al-Sadd, but he stayed at Villarreal out of kindness to a club that waited until he recovered from his injury.”
Good news though Villarreal fans: even though they eventually finished fifth and will qualify for Europe, a change of manager is in the offing as they have decided to dispense with Javier Carreja. Alvaro Romeo explained why:
“Carreja had huge questions about his management before [coronavirus], and Villarreal had a pre-agreement with Unai Emery back in March, which said that if [he didn’t become their manager], they would have to pay him €1million compensation.
“After football came back, Villarreal’s results started getting better under Carreja, so they were under this huge conundrum: do we stick with Carreja, or go with Emery? In the end they went with Emery, and had to pay Carreja €1million. They decided to pay the €1million to Carreja, not Emery.”
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