• EURO 2020

Santi Cazorla thanks team-mates for ‘easy’ Spain comeback

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Santi Cazorla paid tribute to his team-mates on Friday night after enjoying an “easy” 4-1 victory at the Faroe Islands on his Spain comeback.

Cazorla’s remarkable return in football reached a new high on Friday when he made his first appearance for Spain in 1,300 days. He played the full 90 minutes as La Roja won their Euro 2020 qualifier 4-1 to move two points clear at the top of Group F.

For Cazorla, though, the simple idea of representing his country once again seemed unimaginable upon spending two years sidelined with injuries.

The 34-year-old feared he may never walk again after undergoing eight operations. These included reconstructive surgery and a skin graft as an infection saw 10cm of his Achilles tendon eaten away.

Despite being released by Arsenal, Cazorla secured a return to Villarreal for a third spell and impressed greatly back in La Liga. The playmaker made 35 appearances and finished with 10 assists and four goals to his name last season.

Therefore, Spain manager Luis Enrique called-up Cazorla for international duty for the first time since November 2015.

“It was easy to play with these players again,” said Cazorla, according to AOL.

“They make it so easy to play my game. I am so happy to be back with the national team.”

Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas put Spain in front in Torshavn before Faroe Islands’ Klaemint Olsen struck in the 30th-minute.

Teitur Gestsson’s strange own goal, however, restored La Roja’s two-goal lead just three minutes later. Valencia full-back Jose Luis Gaya then wrapped up a comfortable 4-1 win with a goal in the 71st-minute.

“Games like this … these opponents can seem easy, but they are not,” said Cazorla.

“We had to stay focused after the scare of their goal and that got the win in the end.”

Now, the former Arsenal star will be hoping to continue his fine comeback by helping Spain defeat Sweden in Madrid on Monday in a top of the table clash in Group F.

“The game against Sweden will be complicated, because they are a good side,” added Cazorla.

“But with our home fans behind us, we are confident.”

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