Santi Cazorla hailed captaining Spain in the 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands as a “dream”.
The former Arsenal midfielder took the armband when Sergio Ramos left the field, as the Spaniards cruised to victory in Torshavn.
Villarreal star Cazorla made his first Spain appearance since 2015, then topped it off with the captaincy in a remarkable return to the international arena.
Two years ago Cazorla was told he would never play football again after an infection had eaten away at his heel – now the 34-year-old is relishing a new lease of sporting life.
“Wearing the armband is another dream fulfilled for me,” Cazorla told reporters.
“I’m enjoying this a lot but the important thing is for me to help the team.
“The important thing was to win.
“We knew it would be difficult because of the pitch and that they were going to close us down.
“But we were better in many aspects of the game and we’re happy.”
1,529 days since his last start! 🇪🇸👏
Santi Cazorla returned to the Spain starting line-up against Faroe Islands; even wearing the captain's armband in the second half after Sergio Ramos was subbed off.#FROESP #Cazorla #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/1hFHndLvMQ
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) June 8, 2019
Jesus Navas fired his first international goal in six years as Spain romped home to stay top of Group F in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Sergio Ramos toasted his world-record 122nd international victory with his 19th Spain goal, with Jose Gaya on target and goalkeeper Teitur Gestson putting through his own net.
Klaemint Olsen turned in a smart strike for the Faroes, but the hosts were ultimately outclassed and forced to bow to Spain’s supremacy.
Spain host Sweden at home on Monday, with new boss Luis Enrique keen to extend his side’s promising run.
“Sweden will be a complicated game,” said Cazorla. “But we’re playing at home and we want to give our all.
“Hopefully we can get the three points.”