Relieved Cazorla tells how he nearly lost foot

Santi Cazorla required a skin graft to help repair the damage, with a part of his daughter's name which was on his tattooed left forearm now covering his right Achilles tendon.
Santi Cazorla required a skin graft to help repair the damage, with a part of his daughter's name which was on his tattooed left forearm now covering his right Achilles tendon.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/PABLO GARCIA SACRISTAN

LONDON • Santi Cazorla has opened up about the extent of his long layoff from football, revealing how an infection after surgery almost led to his foot being amputated.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, the Arsenal midfielder, who has not played since October last year, explained how the pain of the injury remained and was so bad that it led to him breaking down in tears.

Last December, the 32-year-old underwent surgery because of a tendon injury in his right foot - having had an operation to repair a ruptured ligament in his left knee 12 months previously - and, after the wound failed to heal, a further eight bouts of surgery.

"The medical professionals told me it was okay, the problem was that it did not heal and the wounds would reopen, and become infected," said Cazorla, who could not find a long-term solution in England and so decided to visit a specialist in Spain.

"He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the calcaneus bone and it had eaten the Achilles tendon. There was eight centimetres of it missing."

He underwent several antibiotic treatments in order to clear up the infection and was told there was a risk he could lose his foot.

Cazorla, having undergone a last bout of reconstructive surgery on the injured tendon in May, is now on the road to recovery and hopes to play for Arsene Wenger's side again in January.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 05, 2017, with the headline 'Relieved Cazorla tells how he nearly lost foot'. Print Edition | Subscribe