Ex-Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla given a guard of honour in final Villarreal game

Santi Cazorla was lifted in the air by his Villarreal teammates
Santi Cazorla was lifted in the air by his Villarreal teammates (Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla was given a guard of honour in his final appearance for Villarreal.

The 35-year-old will not be renewing his contract with Villarreal and played his final game for the Spanish club in the 4-0 win over Eibar on Sunday.

Cazorla was substituted with less than 10 minutes remaining and received a standing ovation from both Villarreal and Eibar players as he left the pitch.

After the full-time whistle, Cazorla and Bruno Soriano, who is also leaving the club this summer having made over 400 appearances, were given a guard of honour by both sets of players.

Cazorla, whose career came close to ending in 2017 after he had contracted gangrene following an Achilles operation, was also bumped in the air by his Villarreal teammates.

The midfielder has thrived since returning for a second spell with Villarreal in August 2018 and has finished this season with 11 goals and nine assists in La Liga.

Cazorla has not yet announced his next move, but he has already indicated that he would be open to being part of Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff at Arsenal.

‘I don’t know what my legacy is [at Arsenal],’ Cazorla told Vamos in May.

‘You have to ask the fans, but I want to thank everyone.

‘I don’t know what I will do next, maybe a coach, maybe a sports director, but I would like to come back.’

‘Speaking after his final game for Villarreal, Cazorla said: ‘This is not goodbye, it is a see you later.

‘I always said that I would be honest with the club. At the moment that I couldn’t give 100 per cent I was going to throw myself aside.

‘These are feelings that I have and I have decided to look for a new adventure.’

Meanwhile, reports in Spain are claiming that former Arsenal boss Unai Emery has reached an agreement to become Villarreal’s new manager.

Emery has been out of work since he was sacked by Arsenal in December.

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