World Cup 2022

Cazorla: "Qatar is an amazing host nation for the World Cup"

The former Villarreal, Arsenal and Spain midfielder gave his first interview since joining Al Sadd and spoke about Xavi, Ronaldo, Neymar and the World Cup.

Cazorla: "Qatar is an amazing host nation for the World Cup"

Santi Cazorla is one of the most experienced footballers in the Qatar Stars League given his international career with Spain and his time at clubs including Villarreal, Arsenal and Málaga and the midfielder has got off to a flying start at Al Sadd where he has teamed up with his compatriot Xavi Hernández, who was behind the club’s decision to sign Cazorla from LaLiga at the start of the current season.

In an interview with Qatari broadcaster Al Kass, Cazorla spoke for the first time about his first impressions of the country and the ongoing preparations for the 2022 World Cup, as well as the subject of when Xavi could conceivably return to Spain to manage Barcelona and the negative impact on LaLiga of Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid and Neymar moving to PSG.

Coming to the Qatari league is a great experience for me, above all the chance to work with Xavi Hernández. I have settled very quickly and easily and I’ve come here to win titles with a distinctive side and a coach who was always a very special player for me, as we played together for Spain and against each other in several Liga games. I am sure Xavi will go on to be a great manager and one day he’ll take over at Barcelona, where he spent his entire playing career. I’m sure the idea of managing Barcelona appeals to him and I think it will happen at some stage,” Cazorla said.

It’s very difficult to talk about Ronaldo and Neymar leaving LaLiga, in the same way that it is to talk about the problem that Leo Messi faced when trying to decide whether to stay or leave. It’s important for LaLiga to be able to sign the best players in the world but you also have to give the other sides trying to compete like Atlético and Sevilla an opportunity. But it was sad to see two stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar leave LaLiga,” Cazorla added.

Speaking about Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup, the Al Sadd midfielder noted the effect the covid-19 crisis is having on the world of sport.

Cazorla: "Spain will be one of the favourites at the World Cup"

Qatar is an amazing host nation for the World Cup. While the whole world knows that football is going through some difficult circumstances because of the coronavirus pandemic, I hope that everything will be back to normal before the World Cup starts so that fans have the opportunity to come here and enjoy the tournament. There have been many technological advances in infrastructure and at the World Cup stadiums and I feel very lucky that I will get the opportunity to play in some of these incredible grounds that will host the tournament.”

Despite their disappointing showing in Russia in 2018, Cazorla believes Spain will be among the contenders for the title at Qatar 2022.

“In my opinion Spain will be one of the favourites at the World Cup. Of course, there will be many excellent teams competing at the tournament and Spain will be one of them. I have faith that Spain will rise to the occasion.”

Cazorla also did not want to contemplate what the long-term holds after signing for Al Sadd: “At the moment I don’ want to think about the future, I’m just thinking about doing my best for Al Sadd. We’ll have to see what sort of shape I’m in in the future. I just want to enjoy myself every day, that’s my goal at the moment, so thinking about the long-term doesn’t help me at all.”