Santi Cazorla is one of football’s good guys, so the following pictures of the Arsenal playmaker’s ankle are absolutely heartbreaking.
The Spanish midfielder has been out of action for over a year, undergoing surgeries that resulted in him losing eight centimetres from the tendon in his right foot.
And in an interview interview with Marca, the Spaniard has revealed how doctors came close to amputation after he contracted a potentially life-threatening infection.
Cazorla said: “If you manage to walk with your son again in the garden, be satisfied, they told me.
“He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the calcaneus bone and ate the Achilles tendon, I was eight centimetres missing.”
The front page shows a close up of the devastating effect of eight surgeries, which has left his foot in need of a skin graft from his arm tattoo.
Doctors told Cazorla he would be lucky to walk again, but has shocked experts with his recovery and could be back on the pitch by January.
The former Malaga star has been continuing his rehabilitation is his hometown of Salamanca.
Cazorla spoke about his horror injury and explained exactly what went wrong to lead to him almost losing his foot.
He said: “At that time I was still playing, they told me it was okay, the problem was that it did not heal and the wounds would reopen, become infected … Look, in this picture I can see the tendon”.
But Gunners boss Arsene Wenger recently admitted he is hopeful Cazorla will be able to return to his squad in the new year.
Wenger said: “The first signs are positive, but still he has not played for one and a half years.
“He is not in full training yet, he needs a few games with the reserve team.
“So I think if all goes well, it will be after Christmas.”
A £10million buy from Malaga in 2012, the 32-year-old has since made 180 Gunners appearances – scoring 29 goals.
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