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Santi Cazorla gets spine-tingling reception on return to Real Oviedo, it's a miracle he's still playing

Santi Cazorla gets spine-tingling reception on return to Real Oviedo, it's a miracle he's still playing

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, 38, recently signed for boyhood club Real Oviedo.

Santi Cazorla finally made his senior debut for boyhood club Real Oviedo on Sunday afternoon, 27 years after he first joined the Carbayones.

After arriving at the Estadio Carlos Tartiere in the mid 90's, a young Cazorla was making a name for himself in Oviedo's youth set-up when his time at the club came to an abrupt end.

Oviedo suffered two relegations and the young Spanish midfielder was pushed to leave their academy in 2003 for Villarreal following a 'deep' financial crisis.

He flourished with the Yellow Submarine across three different spells, making 334 appearances in total, and would later play for the likes of Malaga, Arsenal and more recently Al Sadd.

Now, in a romantic ending to his much-loved career, the 38-year-old has selflessly volunteered to earn the minimum wage at his boyhood club, who play in the second tier of Spanish football.

Cazorla, who has waived all image rights on the premise that 10 per cent of the funds from his shirt sales go towards the youth academy, made his bow against Real Valladolid on Sunday.

And as expected, the experienced playmaker received a heroes welcome on his return, with all four corners of the stadium handing him a well-deserved standing ovation.

Check out footage of that scene below. How good is this?

It must have been an emotional moment considering the circumstances surrounding his fragile career. Back in 2017, Cazorla spoke of how he almost lost his foot to gangrene after contracting a dangerous infection.

After undergoing several operations to fix the achilles tendon injury he sustained during Arsenal's 6-0 win over Ludogorets, he lost eight centimetres from the tendon in his right ankle.

In fact, at one stage, doctors said he'd be lucky to be able to walk in the garden with his son.

Several years later and Cazorla is playing for the club he loves, aged 38. “When I was a 9-year-old boy I had the dream of playing in my city, with my people and with my family," he said after signing.

"I had the objective of fulfilling it and it is a challenge that must be accepted. I want to live this experience and be with my people. It was a very easy decision in that regard.

"A lot of people may think I have a lot to lose and nothing to gain, but for me it’s the opposite.”

Cazorla has played a huge part in Real Oviedo's existence. The former Arsenal man, alongside fellow academy products Juan Mata and Michu, purchased shares in Oviedo back in 2012 in order to keep the club going.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@guillermobano

Topics: Santi Cazorla, Spain, Arsenal

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