It’s now been 18 months since Santi Cazorla last graced a football pitch, so it’s fairly obvious to say that his latest bout of injury woe has been a serious one.
However, the full extent of Cazorla’s prolonged suffering has been laid out in an interview with MARCA today, and boy oh boy has the Arsenal midfielder been through the mill.
Indeed, it turns out he came perilously close to losing his entire foot at one point.
— MARCA (@marca) November 2, 2017
The MARCA piece reveals Cazorla has now undergone eight separate surgeries on his foot, resulting in him losing eight centimetres of his Achilles tendon.
Surgeons then used part of his lower arm as a replacement, meaning that a swatch of his forearm tattoo is now grafted to the back of his heel.
Cazorla also contracted gangrene during one of the procedures leading his doctor, Dr Mikel Sanchez, to seriously mull over whether the foot should be amputated entirely.
The diminutive Spanish playmaker explained thus:
The problem was that it did not heal and the wounds would reopen, become infected.
He (Dr Sanchez) saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the bone and damaged the Achilles tendon.
Astonishingly, despite Sanchez telling him he’d be lucky to walk again after his final operation, Cazorla is currently rehabilitating himself in his hometown of Salamanca and has set himself the target of returning to London (and competitive football) at some point after Christmas, possibly as early as January.
Given the tribulations he’s been through this past year-and-a-half, that ovation when he finally returns to the Emirates pitch deserves to be bloody deafening.