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Santi Cazorla's smile epitomises the sheer joy of football


Santi Cazorla plays football as though he's having a kickaround with his mates in his back garden. There's always a smile on his face and that sense of ease and calm - he makes everyone else know that if they find themselves in trouble, they need only pass the ball to him. Of course things haven't always been so easy and straightforward for Santi. A harrowing ankle injury brought seemingly endless suffering and for a while, that smile of his disappeared. Cazorla didn't know whether he would ever be able to play football again. He'd play videos of games he starred in, rewinding to watch certain moves so that he wouldn't forget some of the tricks and sublime moments of skills which became his trademark. Once his ankle had recovered, he decided that all he wanted to do was to go back and play football. He knew he had to choose the right place to do it and chose to return to Estadio de la Cerámica - the ground where he played like he was the happiest guy on Earth, just as home as he would be kicking a ball about in his back yard.

Santi Cazorla celebrates his equaliser against Real Madrid
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Santi Cazorla celebrates his equaliser against Real MadridJESUS ALVAREZ ORIHUELADIARIO AS

Back in business

Cazorla made the right choice. He knew that by being back on home turf, with his people, everything would come together. Last night Cazorla returned to be the player he was before his injury nightmare - the wonderful player loved and admired in England and Spain. There he was, beaming from ear to ear, letting the world know he's back and loving every minute of it. His brace against Real Madrid is now another footnote in his remarkable and inspiring comeback story.