Santi Cazorla may have last kicked a ball for Arsenal back in 2016, but the 32-year-old could be a lot worse off, after he revealed this week how close he came to losing his entire leg.
The Spaniard suffered a severe ankle injury in October of last year, with surgery over Christmas ruling him out for the rest of the season.
However, despite enduring eight agonising operations, the wound didn’t heal and soon became dangerously infected.
In fact, Cazorla has now told how his ankle deteriorated so quickly that doctors told him he should be “satisfied” just to walk again.
The ex-Malaga midfielder told Spanish newspaper Marca how contracting gangrene left hims with “eight centimetres” of his ankle missing.
He said, “Everything that I have gone through has not been as simple an injury as people have believed.
“They [the doctors] told me, if you get to walk again with your son in the garden, be satisfied.”
The player even underwent several successful antibiotic treatments with a risk that a blood infection could have meant amputation of his leg.
“He [Cazorla’s doctor] saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the calcaneus bone and it had eaten the Achilles tendon,” the Gunners star added.
“There was eight centimetres of it missing!”
Eventually, Cazorla had to have skin grafted from his tattooed left arm onto his right ankle, following the reconstruction of his damaged achilles tendon.
Despite his lengthy spell on the sidelines, the two-time FA Cup and European Championship winner is aiming to return at the beginning of the year.
Fingers crossed, Santi!