Santi Cazorla more talented than Steven Gerrard, reveals former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle

Santi Cazorla battles with Steven Gerrard for the ball
Cazorla and Gerrard faced each other in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)

Florent Sinama-Pongolle branded Steven Gerrard the most ‘complete’ footballer he ever played with, but insists Santi Cazorla was more talented than the Liverpool legend.

Cazorla, who is still playing at Villarreal, would become a household name at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger and remains a massively popular figure in football.

Gerrard has gone down as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever players and Sinama-Pongolle played alongside ‘Captain Fantastic’ during some of his best years.

‘Certainly the most complete player,’ Sinama-Pongolle told the Athletic about Gerrard.

‘As a man, as a footballer, in terms of mentality, as a leader, yes he had everything. 

‘But in terms of just talent, in my opinion I played with more talented players. Sergio Aguero at Atletico (Madrid) was amazing. 

‘Genius — every time he got the ball. I played with Santi Cazorla at Huelva and he was just “wow”. One of the best. 

Liverpool v Southampton
Sinama-Pongolle never managed to measure up to the standards at Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

‘In training or in games, when Santi got the ball magic happened.’

Liverpool signed Sinama-Pongolle as a teenager amid much fanfare, but the Frenchman never managed to fulfil his potential at Anfield.

Sinama-Pongolle would be sold in 2006, but was part of Liverpool’s now famous 2004/2005 Champions League squad.

After coming off the bench to play a crucial role in Liverpool’s comeback against Olympiakos in their last group stage game, Sinama-Pongolle would miss out on a spot in the squad that took on AC Milan in the final.

Sinama-Pongolle then explained how his return to Liverpool following their epic comeback in Istanbul was a huge let-down.

‘It’s the only thing about my time at Liverpool that leaves a bad taste,’ he recalled.

‘The organisation after Istanbul was an absolute disgrace.

‘The day after, those of us who weren’t in the squad for the final were put on a separate flight so the wives and girlfriends could go back on the main plane with the team.

BT Sport, Football, UEFA Champions League Final, 25th May 2005, Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul, AC Milan 3 v Liverpool 3, ( Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties), Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and the team celebrate with the trophy
Sinama-Pongolle was on the podium for Liverpool’s Istanbul triumph (Picture: Getty)

‘Our flight arrived a bit later but the bus around the city didn’t wait for us.

‘They claimed that there were so many people on the streets of Liverpool that the police needed it to start. It was unfair.

‘They should have waited for the squad players. When I got back to Liverpool, I just went home and cried like crazy.

‘The night before everything was great. It was so exciting. I should have been on that bus. I was really sad about how the club handled that.’

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