The 32-year-old Spaniard picked up what was thought to be an innocuous ankle injury in the victory over Ludogorets last October, a knock that manager Arsene Wenger had hoped would sideline him for weeks rather than months.
But setback after setback meant that Cazorla repeatedly went under the knife, resulting in the loss of eight centimetres from the tendon in his right ankle.
Cazorla was told that he will never play football again, and also needed a skin graft from his arm to cover the wound – which means that part of a tattoo is now located on his foot – having become infected with gangrene and nearly required an amputation to prevent it spreading up his leg.
“The problem was that it did not heal and the wounds would reopen, become infected,” Cazorla told Marca.
British doctors were unable to find a solution to the infection, and in a desperate attempt to save his career he flew to Spain to see specialist Dr Mikel Sanchez, who admitted he had never seen a similar issue in his career.
“He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the bone and damaged the Achilles tendon,” added Cazorla.
To add to the problems, Cazorla also contracted a blood infection, but despite the numerous setbacks he is setting his sights on a return to football after Christmas after remaining in Salamanca to ensure his rehabilitation is as good as possible.
As a result, the player has been spending most of his time away from from his family. “My family is still in London because my children started school there, being alone without them is the hardest thing,” he said.
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