Santi Cazorla
Cazorla says he still regrets his departure from Malaga.Getty Images

Santi Cazorla says he regrets the manner in which he left Malaga for Arsenal in the summer of 2012 after not having the opportunity to bid farewell to the La Liga side.

Cazorla's move to the Premier League was part of a firesale at the La Rosaleda Stadium which saw several players leave the club in order to cure their financial difficulties.

The 30-year-old enjoyed an impressive single season at Malaga, inspiring the club to reach the Champions League after a fourth place finish in La Liga, however his hastily-arranged move to Arsenal at the end of the campaign left a sour taste.

"Arsenal was a good opportunity, but Malaga wasn't stable and it wasn't clear where they were headed," he told Sky Sports. "I know that in Malaga lots of people haven't forgiven me for the way I left.

"When I signed for Arsenal, everything happened so quick, I had to go to London.

"Arsenal had already started their pre-season and I had to go over there for a medical, and then I had to go to Holland to start to train with the squad. That all meant that I couldn't go to Malaga to hold a press conference to say goodbye to everyone face to face.

"In the end, I could only write a letter in which I expressed my gratitude and my affection for the club. I know a lot of people didn't like that.

"I'd like to apologise for not being able to say goodbye properly as I know that would have been the best thing. It still bothers me that I didn't get to do that for the fans."

Such significant sales has seen Malaga drop from those lofty heights of Champions League qualification, with Uefa sanctions against their financial mismanagement seeing them barred from European football altogether.

"It was a big thing for Malaga because in those days, they had never competed to get into Europe," Cazorla said of his former side's progression to the top tier of European football.

"We exceeded expectations and ended up playing in the Champions League. It was an unforgettable experience."