Arsenal's Santi Cazorla targets January return after coming close to amputation

The 32-year-old has not played for Arsenal since injuring his achilles in October last year

The 32-year-old Spain forward has not played for over a year and he was once told by a doctor that he would be lucky to walk again after repeated problems in his ankle.

Santi Cazorla has opened up about the extent of his long lay-off from football, revealing how an ankle injury he sustained in 2013 nearly led to his leg being amputated.

"If you get to walk again with your son in the garden, be satisfied, they told me", he said. He underwent left knee surgery in December 2015 and needed another operation a year later because of a tendon injury in his right foot.

Cazorla picked up an Achilles problem at the start of last season and has undergone eight operations since the initial injury in a desperate bid to return, even requiring the skin of his arm to cover the wound - featuring his tattoo.

Cazorla last played for Arsenal in a 6-0 win over Ludogorets in October 2016 but signed a new contract earlier this year that keeps him with the Gunners until June next year.

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"He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the bone and damaged the Achilles tendon", added Cazorla.

To make matters worse, Cazorla suffered a serious blood infection that could have ended in the Spaniard having his foot amputated, wasn't it for quick treatment. The player is now in rehabilitation and hopes to return to football in the coming months. It was so severely infected that "eight centimetres" of the Achilles tendon was "missing", according to an interview Cazorla did with Spanish newspaper MARCA.

"I'm still cautious because of the pain and the tough times but I still trust in myself but you have to bare in mind this injury has never been as straightforward as many thought".

Since his arrival from Malaga in 2012, Santi Cazorla has become a mainstay in the Arsenal teamsheet, but injuries have limited his appearances.

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