In this Santi Cazorla biography, we’ll take a look at the career of one of the greatest playmakers and midfielders that Arsenal ever had and one of the best Spanish players of the last two decades.
When it comes to the best Spanish midfielders of all time the list is quite long and is filled with numerous world class midfielders who have won everything at the club and international level, especially in the past two decades. And yet, Santi Cazorla who never played for any of Spain’s Big Three teams, has been consistently among those players.
The Asturias-born midfield maestro had the ability to dribble past any defender, score stunning goals and deliver the greatest passes, effortlessly with both his feet and did so not only in La Liga but at international level and the Premier League as well. A fan-favorite among Villarreal and Arsenal faithful, Cazorla is one of the most unique players that both clubs have seen which has prompted us to take an extensive look at Santi Cazorla lifestory and his career in this
Santi Cazorla biography
In this brief Santi Cazorla bio, we take a closer look at how the Spanish midfield maestro became one of the best playmakers of his generation, starting from his days at Villarreal in the early 2000s to his time at Arsenal and his later career again at Villarreal and now at Al Sadd:
So let’s start Santi Cazorla bio with a general information about his physical attributes and his position on the pitch:
Full Name: Santiago Cazorla González
Nickname: Little Magician
Height: 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Weight: 66 kg
Positon: Winger, attacking midfielder, central midfielder
Professional Debut: 30 November 2003
Jersey Number: 19
Date of Birth: 13 December 1984
Birth Place: Llanera, Asturias, Spain
Born in Llanera in the municipality of Asturias in Spain,
Santi Cazorla date of birth
is 13 December 1984. Youngest of the two sons of Loli and Jose Luiz, Santi started showing interest in football from an early age, just like his older brother Nando who would later become a semi-pro footballer.
Santi Cazorla childhood
was about football and he soon began playing for various local clubs including Covadonga andReal Oviedo
. Santi spent all of his teenage years at Real Oviedo from 1996 until 2003. By then, Oviedo had started tto have serious financial troubles, something which would see them fall to Spain’s third division, and as a resulted they parted ways with Santi as the 19 year old joined Villarreal in 2003.
We will now take a look at Santi Cazorla’s career as a footballer in the different teams that he played throughout his career in this section of Santi Cazorla biography, starting with his time in the Villarreal’s reserve team:
Now let’s take a look at Santi Cazorla’s club career as well as his time with the Spainish national team:
Following his arrival at the club at the end of the 2002-03, Santi Cazorla had to make his way through Villarreal’s reserve side to eventually get a chance of playing in the first team. Considering the player, he would become, Cazorla was a late-bloomer since he was 20 by the time he made his first professional appearance forVillarreal
He then became a regular for the Yellow Submarines in the following 2 seasons, helping them first win the Intertoto Cup and then to a 4th place finish in 2004-05 season which was followed by a Champions League semi-final appearance the following season which they lost to Santi’s future club, Arsenal.
Despite being a semi-regular in that successful Villarreal side, Santi didn’t exactly impress Villarreal’s manager at the time, Manuel Pellegrini, thoroughly which was why they decided to sell him to the newly-promoted side,Recreativo Huelva
, in the summer of 2006.
After only 3 seasons with Villarreal, Santi Cazorla joined one of Villarreal’s sister clubs, Recreativo Huelva, at the start of the 2006-07 season. his transfer fee was around €600,000 but seeing his potential, Villarreal decided to have a buy-back clause of €1.2 million in his contract in case they decided to bring back the 22 year old to Estadio de la Cerámica.
Despite going through tough times, as Santi’s father passed away sometime during the 2006-07 season, Cazorla went on to have one hell of a season, scoring on his debut for Recreativo Huelva and then proceed the club to an amazing 8th place finish in their first season back inLa Liga
. Santi scored 5 that season as well as contributing several assists and at the end of the season, he was named as Spanish Player of the Year by the prestigious Don Balon publication, which prompted his old club Villarreal to exercise Santi Cazorla’s buy-back clause.
And so Santi Cazorla once again joined Villarreal in 2007, this time for the price of €1.2 million. He joined a team that had a proven goal scorer like Nihat Kahveci as well as young players like Giuseppe Rossi not to mention an Arsenal legend by the name ofRobert Pires
Believed to have proven himself, Santi Cazorla went on to become a regular for the Yellow Submarine and scored 5 goals in the league as well as providing assists for Villarreal’s impressive forward line. They ended up achieving Villarreal’s best ever league finish to date by finishing as the runner-ups, which was an unprecedented success for the fast-growing Villarreal.
His success in his first season back with Villarreal prompted interest from the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, but Cazorla rejected an offer from theLos Blancos
, stating that “I feel very satisfied and valued at my club". this caused a bit of stir in the media but Santi was determined to stay loyal to Villarreal who just had their best ever finish in the league the season prior.
Santi went on to have 3 impressive seasons with Villarreal after that with only real downside being his extensive injury in the 2009-10 season which meant that he would miss the chance to represent Spain in the 2010 World Cup.
On 26 July 2011, Santi Cazorla decided to leave Villarreal once again, this time going to money-spending Andalusian side, Malaga CF, for theclub record
of €21 million. He went on to have his best La Liga season ever, scoring 9 in the league (becoming Malaga’s second best scorer that season) and helping Malaga finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League for the first time in club’s history.
However, the club didn’t manage to Balance the books properly so they were left with a lot of financial troubles and ended up selling some of their best players, including Santi Cazorla, after only a season.
On August of 2012, Santi Cazorla who was at the peak of his career decided to join the Gunners in a transfer deal worth £10 million. Santi made an instant impact atArsenal
, becoming their most creative player and putting in performances left, right and center. He featured in every match of his debut season, finishing with an impressive 12 goals tally and 14 assists. He produced somewhat same numbers the following season but more importantly helped the club reach the FA Cup final.
He was already a fan favorite at this point but his incredible free-kick goal against Hull City in the final that started Arsenal’s comeback cemented his place as an Arsenal legend. Arsenal went on to win the FA Cup and brought an end to their 9-year trophy drought. Santi would win another FA Cup trophy in the following season, winning the Man of the Match award in the final.
Santi’s 3rd season at the club was as impressive as the last two but in the 4th season despite a strong start to the campaign he suffered a knee injury which would keep him out for 5 months. his nightmare repeated in the following season as well as he picked up an Achilles heel injury in UCL fixture. After normal rehabilitation process didn’t help him recover from the injury Santi went through 8 operations and even contracted gangrene and was feared to never walk again or outright have his leg amputated.
But with a skin graft from his hand (where his daughter’s tattoo was) and a anti-biotic treatment, he thankfully regained his health. But his time at Arsenal was coming to an end as his contract ran out after his sixth season at the club, during which he failed to feature in a single game.
After a long series of injuries and surgeries during which the doctors told him he would be lucky if he could walk again, Santi Cazorla made a miraculous comeback and was once again back on the pitch. He had a short fitness trial at Villarreal after which he joined his beloved club for the third time.
Cazorla soon became an integral part of their team and assisted 10 times (3rd most in the league) in his first season and repeated that same feat a year later, this time scoring an impressive amount of 11 goals too. On his last match ever with Villarreal, Cazorla was given a guard of honor by his teammates and opponents.
On 20 July 2020, Santi Cazorla joined his former teammate, Xavi, in Qatar’sAl Sadd
and instantly became one of their most important players. He has won a league title and 3 cup trophies since and is still going strong, showing no signs of slowing down.
Santi Cazorla nationality
is Spanish and he was born in Llanera, Asturias, Spain. Cazorla represented La Roja as a midfielder in a time that they had some of the best midfielders in the world, like Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and David Silva. For Cazorla to have so many international caps while there was such a heavy traffic of world-class midfielders is an achievement on his own but the Little Magician helped Spain achieve some more too.
After being named in Spain’s squad for the Euro 2008 despite being still uncapped at the time, Cazorla went on to make his debut for Spain on 31 May 2008 in a friendly against Peru. He then played an important role of coming on as a sub in most of the matches of the tournament, helping Aragones’ Spain win the Euro 2008.
Santi Cazorla would lose the chance of winning the World Cup as he was excluded from Spain’s squad for the 2010 World Cup because of injuries but he would make a return in the Euro 2012 where he once again won the competition with Spain. The 2014 World Cup was Santi Cazorla’s first but far from their best, Spain didn’t even manage to qualify through the group stages.
After struggling with a series of horrendous injuries and after a gap of 1302 days, Santi Cazorla made his return to Spanish national team in 2019 in a match against Faroe Islands. He marked the occasion by wearing the captain’s armband for the first time. He retired from international duty that year, having played 81 games and scored 15 goals for La Roja, helping them win 2 European Championships.
Just like his childhood idol, Michael Laudrup, Santi Cazorla was a genius playmaker wherever on the pitch he played. A fully ambidextrous player who could just as easily play a whole match with his left foot despite being right-footed, Santi Cazorla was mostly deployed as a winger at the start of his career. This was due to his explosive pace when he was younger but even when playing on the wings Santi would dictate the rhythm of the game.
Capable of taking extraordinary long shots, delivering long passes and creating goal scoring situation out of nowhere, not to mention his impressive dribbling skills, Santi Cazorla was the image of a perfect playmaker. This became more apparent in his Arsenal days when Arsene Wenger moved him to more central positions where he would dictate the tempo of the game and take part in the free-flowing Arsenal team of those days.
Santi Cazorla is considered by many of his contemporaries to be one of the best players they ever saw. His ambidextrous style of playing makes him extremely difficult to predict and it usually impresses most who see him play. During his time at Arsenal, despite being a part of a supremely technically gifted team, Cazorla was often referred to being the most technical. He is revered by the fans of Arsenal and Villarreal and is considered to be one of thebest players
of both clubs.
Santi Cazorla’s famous goal celebration is that of him kissing his forearm twice as he had the name of his two children, Enzo and India, tattooed on his arm. However, in 2017 after getting a nasty infection on his right heel after a series of surgeries, doctors had to use a part of his forearm skin to graft on his heels and they took the part with the name of his girl, India, tattooed on there. So the name is not entirely there anymore.
In 2012, Santi Cazorla alongside players like Juan Mata and Michu tried to raise funds (€2 million) for their old club, Real Oviedo, as the club were going bankrupt. The club managed to finally raise the money with the help of one of its shareholders and is now competing in the Segunda Division.
Outside of that, Santi Cazorla is a family man and likes to spend his time mostly with family. He lives in Qatar at the moment with his family occasionally visiting him.
Our Santi Cazorla biography wouldn’t be a complete without mentioning his personal life. So continue reading on as we take a look at
Santi Cazorla life story
, relationships and philanthropy in this Santi Cazorla bio.
Santi Cazorla is married to Ursula Santirso and the couple have 2 children together, Enzo and India. Enzo is the older sibling and is 10 years old with his sister India being 8. Santi has the name of both his kids tattooed on his arm.
The family is believed to live in Spain at the moment with them visiting Santi while he plays in Qatar. Santi himself is the younger of two siblings as we mentioned earlier and as far as his beliefs go,
Santi Cazorla religion
is Christianity but he doesn’t particularly seem to be the religious type.
Santi Cazorla has taken part in various charitable programs, especially during his time with Arsenal, with him being involved with Football Beyond Borders, a charity with the aim of helping youth with troubled lives through football.
More recently though, Santi Cazorla helped raise an impressive amount of funds to help against the Corona virus during the 2019-20 season alongside several other La Liga players.
Santi Cazorla does not seem to have had any legal issues as of us writing this article.
It’s time to review some statistics in this section of Santi Cazorla biography, both for the clubs he played at and the Spanish national team:
Santi Cazorla biography
isn’t complete without his general statistics in the clubs that he played, starting with his days at Villarreal where he joined the club as a 19-year-old, made his debut in 2003 and then went on to play for them on 75 occasions, scoring 7 goals before being moved on to a Recreativo Huelva in 2006.
At Huelva, he was a standout performer and one of the La Liga’s best in that season, scoring 5 in 34 appearances, which was why Villarreal decided to take him back after only one season. Cazorla’s 2nd season with Villarreal was much longer and more successful as he became a big part of their starting line-up and was one of their top performers in the 4 years he stayed at the club. he played 173 games for Villarreal in his second spell at the club, scoring 28 goals and helping the club to a 2nd place finish in the 2007-08 season.
He then went on to joinMalaga
in 2001, only playing for the club for a season, scoring 9 in 42 matches and helping them to a 4th place finish before he joined Arsenal in 2012. With the gunners, Cazorla became a fan-favorite dazzling with his performances and helping the club ending its 9-year trophy drought by winning an FA Cup. he finished his time with Arsenal after 180 games where he scored 29 goals in.
After his injury struggles at Arsenal, Santi Cazorla joined Villarreal for the 3rd time and went on to have his best La Liga season of his career in 2019-20 season as he scored 11 goals in the league. his two-year spell with Villarreal ended after he made 86 appearances and scored 22 goals for the club.
Cazorla then joined Al Sadd in Qatar where he is playing right now. He has scored 13 in 20 appearances for the club as of writing this article.
Santi Cazorla made his debut for Spain on May 31, 2008. He went on to sporadically represent Spain in the next 11 years, making 81 caps and scoring 15 goals as well as helping the country win 2 European Championships.
Santi Cazorla is still a footballer and hasn’t gone into management yet.
In the final section of Santi Cazorla biography, we take a brief look at his achievements, either team or individual achievements, starting from his time at Villarreal:
After joining Villarreal from Real Oviedo at the age of 19 and in 2003, Cazorla slowly broke out into the first team and managed to make sporadic appearances in the following 3 seasons, helping the club win the 2004 Intertoto Cup. he was then transferred to the newly promoted side, Recreativo Huelva, with a buy-back clause in case he impressed at the club, which Santi proceeded to do, becoming one of the standout players of the 2006-07 season and winning the award for the Best Player of the Season from the Don Balon publication.
In the summer of 2007, Santi made his return to Villarreal once again, this time becoming one of the main starters for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Despite four good seasons with the club which had some of Santi Cazorla’s best performances ever and finishing as runners up in his first season back, Santi failed to win any major trophies at club level during this time.
Santi left Villarreal once again in 2001 and enjoyed a successful season at Malaga before he was sold to Arsenal for financial reasons a year later. At Arsenal, Santi Cazorla’s talents started being seen by more people and suddenly people could see why this “Little Magician” was so highly regarded by so many over in Spain. Cazorla became part of one of the most impressive Arsenal teams since the early 2000s and helped the club massively in their attempt to finish their 9-eya trophy drought. Which ended in an FA Cup final in which Santi scored a goal for Arsenal in a stunning free kick.
He managed to win the trophy once again as well as 2 Community Shields with Arsenal before a string of injuries cut his time at the club short and he had to leave after 6 years with the club. he then successfully trialled and joined Villarreal once more, staying with the club for two seasons until 2020 and astonishing everyone with his performances before leaving to join the Xavi-led Al Sadd in Qatar in 2020 with whom he has one league title and 3 cup trophies since.
Although a constant presence in Spain’s golden generation, Cazorla was always behind players like Iniesta and Xavi in the national team but he always made great impact when he was given the chance. He managed to win 2 European Championships with Spain in 2008 and 2012 but sadly lost the chance to win the 2010 World Cup because of injuries.
And with that we come to the end of this
Santi Cazorla biography
. Widely considered to be one of the best ever midfielders who played for Arsenal, Villarreal and Spain, Santi Cazorla is still dazzling fans with his performances even to this day. we hope that you enjoyed reading it and for more articles like this just check out the links below!