In the media room at Oviedo, the cheerful presence of Santi Cazorla is felt, despite his absence from the recent triumph over Eibar due to a minor injury. At 38, Cazorla has returned to his childhood club, and his significance extends beyond the playing field. He articulates the profound importance of being back home at Real Oviedo.
Cazorla’s impact goes beyond the pitch; even before the match, he played a crucial role in facilitating other signings by insisting on the minimum allowable salary. Club president Martin Pelaez acknowledges Cazorla’s contribution, emphasizing his selfless gesture for the benefit of the team.
The ripple effects of Cazorla’s return are evident, from increased shirt sales to a boost in club membership. The emotional connection to the city is immeasurable, strengthening the sense of pride and identity. Oviedo’s financial struggles, which once separated Cazorla from the club, now serve as a unique bond, especially considering his involvement in saving the club in 2012 alongside players like Juan Mata and Michu.
Cazorla’s commitment goes beyond the playing field; he has not only played for the minimum wage but also relinquished his image rights and directed a portion of his shirt sales towards the academy. His focus on supporting young players underscores his dedication to the future of the club.
The impact of Cazorla extends to the management and communication team, who commend his humility and positive influence. Despite his legendary status, Cazorla remains grounded, earning admiration from teammates and colleagues alike.
While some may see Cazorla’s return as a risk, given his established legacy, those close to him understand his genuine connection to the city and his desire to contribute to its future. Cazorla expresses gratitude for the overwhelming love he receives from the people.
Favorite moments from Cazorla’s return vary, from pivotal phone calls to sold-out stadium presentations. His popularity extends beyond Oviedo, with applause even from rival fans. The hope is for more memorable moments on the field, but the true essence of this story lies in Cazorla’s lasting impact off the pitch.
Lleida and Pelaez emphasize that Cazorla’s return is not just about on-field performance; it’s about a prodigal son coming home. The intention is for Cazorla to remain a permanent part of Oviedo, potentially in coaching or another capacity, symbolizing an enduring connection between the player and his beloved club.