Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla says he is delighted with what he has achieved in 2012 at club and international level.
After representing Spain at Euro 2012 and playing a key role in helping Malaga to qualify for the Champions League last season, he moved to the English Premier League in the off-season.
Looking back on his success in the last 12 months, Cazorla said it is difficult to take in, having helped Spain become the first men’s national team to win three consecutive major international tournaments.
“That is something you never forget,” he said.
“It is clear that, as football players always say, we do not realise what we have achieved until many years have passed.
“In football everything moves very fast, you do not have enough time to take stock of what you have achieved, but all in all, it is the highest accolade, to win something for your country, to see everyone on the streets celebrating.
“That was a reason to be happy, and hopefully we can repeat that success for the Spanish people many times.”
He moved to the Emirates Stadium in the close-season, along with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, and Cazorla has stated the new challenge of playing in England has reinvigorated him on the pitch.
“It was a very important decision, to change teams,” he said.
“It is a new challenge, it is a completely new adventure from the start, you have to start from zero, aside from the fact of going into a different culture, a new league, a new language.
“But I think that with Arsenal, I was offered an opportunity that I could not turn down, being 27 years old (at the time), it was like a train that I had to take, and I am very satisfied.
“I am learning a lot, I am adapting more and more as days go by, and my aim is to learn the English game, and hopefully I will spend some good years at this club.
“I really enjoy the league, the atmosphere at the stadiums, the respect of the people, their kindness, it is incredible.
“Regarding the collective, we have dropped some points, and we hope that from now on we can all improve. That is what we all want, to see Arsenal further up the table.”