Santi Cazorla says Juan Roman Riquelme is the best player he has ever shared a dressing room with.
Cazorla was also part of the Spain squad that dominated the international scene, winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012. However, he missed their World Cup success in 2010 with a back injury.
Yet it wasn’t any of his Gunners or national teammates – that included Xavi and Andres Iniesta – that stood out to Cazorla.
“I have played with very good players throughout my career in both Villarreal, Arsenal and national team, but for me Roman has been the best ever,” the 35-year-old told Marca.
“A different player, who won games on his own and I am lucky to have played with him.”
Cazorla is the top scoring midfielder in La Liga this season with eight goals, helping Villarreal to eighth in the table.
Yet he is still some way off the highest scoring campaign set by a midfield player at the club – which was fittingly Riquelme in 2004/05, when the Argentine netted 17 times.
At the time, Cazorla was just beginning his career with the Yellow Submarine.
“I didn’t know (Riquelme had the record),” he continues. “That was my first real season in the first team.
“There is time to try and reach that. I have to say that Roman writes to me a lot lately and that he is very happy for me, that I am doing well and are scoring goals.”