News today of two ex-Villarreal players (legends!).
Santi Cazorla has undergone yet another operation—his ninth—on his Achilles tendon. Santi had hoped to return to action in January for Arsenal, but he tweeted that as a result of discomfort in the tendon, he has had to go under the knife again.
This injury saga has included a severe infection and surgery to graft skin from his forearm onto his ankle, among other things. He hasn’t played since October 2016, and it’s unlikely he’ll be returning to action for Arsenal, since his contract expires at the end of this year. Santi’s joy at playing football at the highest level has always been evident and it’s sad to see his career derailed at age 32. He’s hopeful of still coming back, but admitted he nearly lost his foot as a result of the infection and doctors are not hopeful he’ll be able to play again.
Meanwhile, another oft-injured ex-Villarreal player, Giuseppe Rossi, is in the news for better reasons. He’s been recovering from a left knee injury he suffered in April, while playing for Celta on loan from Fiorentina. His Fiorentina contract has ended, but yesterday he tweeted “Next stop, Serie A!” and it’s being reported he’s signing for Genoa, currently fighting against the drop.
Genoa coach Davide Ballardini knows Rossi from Beppe’s days in Parma’s youth system, so the signing makes sense. It will be Rossi’s first action in Italy since August 2016.
Hard to believe how the careers of both players have gone since the two were teammates on Villarreal’s excellent 2010-11 side. Santi at least had an excellent 2011-12 season at Malaga and then success at Arsenal, but has been essentially sidelined the last two years.
Rossi had a magical three months in Florence, scoring 14 goals—including a hat trick against Juventus—before suffering yet another knee injury. His last season at Fiorentina (2015- January 2016) was sad to watch as he was clearly not the player he had been, and he went on loan to Levante and Celta after that. Pepito did have his first La Liga hat trick for Celta, against Las Palmas—he scored two goals in a league match for times for Villarreal, but never three.
Good luck to both!