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Santi Cazorla eyes Arsenal reunion in Europa League

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Villarreal star Santi Cazorla hopes to meet his old club Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Spanish playmaker’s career looked to had come to an end after an infection he sustained in surgery nearly led him to having his foot amputated in 2017.

After eight operations, Arsenal released Cazorla last summer with the 34-year-old going back to Villarreal for at third spell a the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Since then, Cazorla has impressed greatly back in Spain and is tied with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmnaan and Barcelona’s Jordi Alba on eight assists in La Liga this season.

He even bagged a brace to help Villarreal claim a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in their first game of 2019.

Now the Yellow Submarine will be hoping Cazorla is at the top of his game for tonight’s first leg against Valencia in their Europa League quarter-final tie.

“In the previous round I would have loved to play Arsenal,” said Cazorla, according to OneFootball.

“I would love to play at the Emirates again, it would be very special although I would be with another team.

“Hopefully both teams will go through and we will face in the semi-finals. I wish both teams the very best.”

As for Villarreal’s tie against Valencia, Cazorla said: “It will be a nice match, it’s a regional derby which is worth a European semi-final.

“Both teams know each other really well, and both arrive to this game in fairly good form. Small details will make the difference, and it will be crucial for us to secure a good result in the first leg at home.

“All derbies come with big rivalries, there are bigger derbies and smaller derbies, but for the locals of Villarreal and Valencia, this is the most special game. I hope both fans will respect each other and I hope to see a derby where the fans will respect each other.

“I remember when I was playing the north London derbies, and I was used to the Spanish derbies, I loved to see Arsenal and Tottenham fans sharing the same train and singing their respective chants without any trouble, this is what football should be, passion and respect.”

Villarreal v Bayer Leverkusen - UEFA Europa League
VILLARREAL, SPAIN – MARCH 17: Santi Cazorla of Villarreal celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg match between Villarreal and Bayer Leverkusen at El Madrigal stadium on March 17, 2011 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)