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Miracle man Cazorla dances on as last of Spain’s pioneer generation | Barney Ronay

Watching Santi Cazorla against Romania it was hard to shake this sense of a player with an unusual grasp of time

A few years ago the American novelist Nicholson Baker wrote a book about a man with the power to stop the world around him. In this state, called “the fermata”, his hero is able to peer into people’s pockets, examine their sock drawers, set in order, solve and – this being Baker – indulge in a series of energetically detailed 12-hour onanism marathons, while the physical world waits for permission to pick up where it left off.

Watching sport at all levels it can seem at times as though there are athletes out there with a version of this power. You know the kind of thing, a way of reading the planes of movement around them and scampering along in front like a seabird running ahead of the surf. Although without, it should be said, the energetically detailed 12-hour onanism marathons, and a bit more in the way of perfect through-passes, switch-hit ramp shots, crosscourt dink volleys and all the rest.

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