Santi Cazorla: ‘I would play for free but you’re not allowed’

The former Arsenal and Spain midfielder, now 38, is loving playing for his home club Real Oviedo in the second division

The day Spain’s history changed for ever, Santi Cazorla scored in the shootout. He scored on his Recreativo de Huelva debut in 2006, the first of 143 goals going back 18 years, got his last for Arsenal in front of 59,962 at the Emirates in autumn 2016, and netted a 96th-minute equaliser in Moscow 754 days and 10 operations later, having been told to settle for walking again. He scored in the FA Cup final at Wembley, at the Santiago Bernabéu and the Camp Nou, at Old Trafford and Anfield, in the north London derby and at San Mamés, a place so revered they call it the Cathedral.

Nothing, though, compared to a deflected shot in front of 3,823 people on a random Saturday afternoon against tiny Alcorcón in the second division, and which didn’t even count. “The goal I’ve lived with most feeling,” Cazorla calls it, a VAR review ruining everything. “And I had already celebrated.”

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