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Cazorla opts out of Celtic fan club

Published: Tuesday 30 September 2008, 2.49CET
Santi Cazorla may struggle to hide his own enthusiasm about the visit of Celtic FC and their colourful fans, but the Villarreal CF winger is urging his team-mates to avoid the distraction and ensure they pick up three points.
by Graham Hunter
from Villarreal
Cazorla opts out of Celtic fan club
Santi Cazorla is urging focus ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

VillarrealCeltic

Goals scored13
 
4
Attempts on target61
 
21
Attempts off target60
 
26
Corners50
 
26
Offsides22
 
15
Fouls committed129
 
97
Yellow cards21
 
8
Red cards3
 
0
 
Published: Tuesday 30 September 2008, 2.49CET

Cazorla opts out of Celtic fan club

Santi Cazorla may struggle to hide his own enthusiasm about the visit of Celtic FC and their colourful fans, but the Villarreal CF winger is urging his team-mates to avoid the distraction and ensure they pick up three points.

Santi Cazorla may struggle to hide his own enthusiasm about the visit of Celtic FC and their colourful fans, but the Villarreal CF winger is urging his team-mates to avoid the distraction and ensure they pick up three points.

Celtic fan club
The diminutive Cazorla is one of Villarreal's most prominent homegrown players and fully understands what the local community feel when European football's élite club competition comes to town. The addition of Celtic's famously vibrant supporters brings extra spice. Since the last time the two sides met, four years ago in the UEFA Cup, there has been lasting friendship to the extent that the Villarreal branch of the Celtic fan club now has 600 members and a waiting list. "I just love the Champions League as a competition and you always want the matches to be spectacular," said the 23-year-old. "But it's clear there will be lots of noisy Celtic fans at El Madrigal and that adds to the fun.

Serious task
"However, our task is to take the points first and entertain second," the Spanish international continued. "I was already playing at the club two and a half years ago when we reached the semi-finals [against Arsenal FC] and it's a bittersweet memory. In fact, the last thing that happened at this stadium in this competition was [Juan Román] Riquelme's missed penalty which put us out. Now we have the pride, the ambition and the talent to go far in the Champions League again, and we need to win against the likes of Celtic."

No nerves
Celtic striker Scott McDonald shares Cazorla's eagerness for what promises to be an atmospheric encounter, although he understands manager Gordon Strachan's call for calm and conservative use of the ball against Villarreal. "With all respect to our Scottish rivals, it's true that if we lose the ball [in the Scottish Premier League] we get it back pretty quickly and often without being punished," said the 25-year-old. "Too often in Europe we've lost because of squandering possession or chucking in a cheap early goal. In the Champions League you always meet top-quality footballers so the punishment for not being careful with the ball is usually conceding or not getting possession for a good while. We need to be more patient and wait for our moment."

Last updated: 30/09/08 22.05CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15276/match=302714/prematch/focus/index.html#cazorla+opts+celtic+club

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