Santi Cazorla has revealed the true extent of the infection that threatened his return to football by showing the state of his ankle after eight surgeries as well as a photo before it had all healed.

The playmaker, who has been out for over a year, picked up what seemed to be a relatively ‘normal’ Achilles problem which was then complicated by an infection that required a number of further surgeries.

Losing eight centimetres from his Achilles, that was the least of his problems as the wound not only refused to heal but also contracted gangrene.

Speaking in an interview with Marca today, the midfielder also shared a photo that shows the true extent of the surgical work required to not only save his foot but get him close to playing again.

On first glance you would not think he would return to the game, but Arsene Wenger is hopeful that he will return to the side after Christmas.

“The first signs are positive, but still he has not played for one and a half years,” Wenger said

“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.”

Cazorla said in the interview [via Google translate], “The first parts endured a little better, if I got warm I could play, but at the break, as soon as I cooled down a bit, I would cry.

“If you manage to walk with your son again in the garden, be satisfied, they told me”. 

Speaking about additional surgery when they discovered the extent of the infection, Santi said, “He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the calcaneus bone and ate the Achilles tendon, I was 8 centimeters missing!”

In the gallery below you can view a photo of Cazorla’s ankle when it was open and you can actually see the tendon. It is the last photo in the gallery and is graphic, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, perhaps it’s best if you don’t look.

Note – The Daily Mail are also covering this story, based on the same interview from Marca. They claim that at one point doctors considered amputating Cazorla’s foot. At no point in the interview is that mentioned. 

In the first edition of the new Daily Cannon magazine, Caviar & Sausage, we have a feature looking at what Arsenal have missed over the past year through Cazorla’s injury. As a special introductory offer we are giving Daily Cannon readers 50% off.

You can find out more about that here.