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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Santi Cazorla returns to Spain squad to cap incredible injury comeback

Having been told he would be lucky to walk again, the former Arsenal player is among the national team for the first time since 2015.

Santi Cazorla applauds supporters during a recent game against Girona.
Santi Cazorla applauds supporters during a recent game against Girona.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

SANTI CAZORLA HAS returned to the Spain squad for the first time in four years as the Villarreal midfielder’s remarkable comeback from injury continues. 

Cazorla has had his career interrupted by a series of horrendous injuries, and since 2013 he has required numerous operations on knee, foot and ankle injuries while an aggressive infection in his heel needed a skin graft, extracted from his left forearm. 

Told he was lucky to walk again and could have lost his leg, Cazorla chose not to retire, instead moving to Villarreal from Arsenal last year to kick-start an incredible recovery. 

The 34-year-old’s call-up comes after he has been one of Villarreal’s stand-out players this season, helping them avoid relegation with four goals and 10 assists in 34 appearances. He has missed only three league matches. 

Cazorla will now hope to feature in Spain’s upcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Faroe Islands on June 7 and Sweden on June 10. 

The midfielder’s last international appearance came when he scored in a 2-0 friendly win over England in November 2015. 

Coach Luis Enrique was unable to attend the squad announcement at Las Rozas on Friday due to the same personal problems that prevented him taking charge of Spain’s last fixture against Malta. 

His assistant Robert Moreno oversaw the release of the list, which included recalls for Real Madrid’s Isco, who was left out in March, and Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyarzabal, who was last selected in May 2016. 

Dani Carvajal, Diego Llorente and Iago Aspas also returned. 

Juan Bernat, Sergi Gomez, Dani Ceballos, Sergio Canales, Iker Muniain and Jaime Mata all dropped out, after being selected in the previous squad. 

 © – AFP 2019

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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