sport news Santi Cazorla recalls agonising TV analysis with Mikel Arteta, loving life ... trends now

sport news Santi Cazorla recalls agonising TV analysis with Mikel Arteta, loving life ... trends now
sport news Santi Cazorla recalls agonising TV analysis with Mikel Arteta, loving life ... trends now

sport news Santi Cazorla recalls agonising TV analysis with Mikel Arteta, loving life ... trends now

It sounds like something you might see on reality TV show Gogglebox – Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla sat on the couch together watching Premier League football.

Cazorla sets the scene from 2016: ‘I used to watch games with him when we were both injured,’ he says. ‘He would get hold of the remote control and freeze the action and I would say to him: “What are you stopping it for?”

‘He would rewind it 30 seconds more, pause it again, and say: “What do you see? I would say: “I see the action frozen. I don’t see anything!”'

Arteta would be pointing out a badly positioned player, a defensive line that was too low, or a movement that one team had made to open up space.

‘I would look at him and think, this guy has already started being a coach,’ says Cazorla, not the least bit surprised that his pal is now in charge of Arsenal’s best shot at a league title in 20 years.

Santi Cazorla is back at his boyhood club Oviedo, trying to get them promoted back to LaLiga

Santi Cazorla is back at his boyhood club Oviedo, trying to get them promoted back to LaLiga

Cazorla opened up on his previous time spent playing alongside Mikel Arteta (left, in 2012) and how the Arsenal manager used to stop television to analyse matches with him

Cazorla opened up on his previous time spent playing alongside Mikel Arteta (left, in 2012) and how the Arsenal manager used to stop television to analyse matches with him

He told Mail Sport that getting promoted with Oviedo would top everything else in his career

He told Mail Sport that getting promoted with Oviedo would top everything else in his career

Cazorla, 39, believes there are still a few drops left to squeeze out of his playing career

Cazorla, 39, believes there are still a few drops left to squeeze out of his playing career

‘With so much stopping and rewinding the game would have finished and we would only be at minute 35,’ he laughs. ‘It’s a gift to see the things he sees, because I know I don’t focus on them.’

The odd couple would finally get to the end of matches because Cazorla developed the perfect strategy: ‘I would say yes to everything! He’d question me and I’d say: “Yes you’re completely right now press play and lets see if we can finish watching the match!"’

Cazorla is 39 now and back at his boyhood club Oviedo trying to get them promoted back to the first division - an achievement he says that would top everything else in his career.

He agreed to join them last summer but only if the club would pay him no more than a minimum wage and with 10 per cent of his shirt sales going straight to the academy.

‘I would play for free but [league rules mean] you have to accept the minimum or you can’t play at all. I want to contribute to the club growing,’ he says.

It’s been rewarding and in ways he might not have imagined.

‘Opposition players remember my time with the national team and Arsenal and they see me playing in the second division and they thank me for it,’ he says. ‘And the slightest kick they give me, they say sorry. That never used to happen!’

They all want his shirt too. ‘Sadly I can’t give them to everyone because I only have two per game. They even write to me during the week now on Instagram. There’s a moment when the game starts and I say “but five of you have asked and I only have two”.’

Cazorla agreed to join Oviedo as long as they pay him no more than a minimum wage

Cazorla agreed to join Oviedo as long as they pay him no more than a minimum wage

Asked to look back across his career and pick a five-a-side team of players he has played with he reels off Andres Iniesta, Xavi, David Silva, Juan Riquelme and Mesut Ozil without too much pondering.

‘We’re not going to defend!’ he says. ‘They’ll have to take the ball off us, but if they do we’ll suffer. I like the ball players and they’re five who have made an impact on me.’

There’s a young player at Arsenal who wouldn’t be out of place in that team. ‘I love [Martin] Odegaard,’ Cazorla says. ‘He wanted to be an important player somewhere

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