Santi Cazorla has dismissed speculation that he could be forced to retire due to his ongoing achilles injury and promised Arsenal fans they will see him play again this season.
The Spain international initially went under the knife last October but has since undergone several more operations due to complications in the healing process.
Eight months later and the 32-year-old is still unable to put a date on his return, but he insists that he’s made good progress in the last month.
“Do not pay attention to that [rumours of retirement],” he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero [translated by The International Business Times].
“Those who want to retire me will get to see me [play] again. I will return. I do not know how far I am [from returning] but I am convinced that I am going to play football again and at my best level. I am working on it and hopefully, it can be as soon as possible. I am convinced that I will come back.”
Having been out for such a long time Santi admitted that he has worried about getting back to his best, although he’s much more optimistic now.
“Yes, that was the worst thing,” he continued. “The problem is that [doctors] did not know what’s going on. The worst thing is in the head [staying mentally strong]. But I went to Spain, they found a bacteria [an infection], and now it seems that problem is already solved.
“It looks like the operations are over. Now I’m very happy, starting the recovery that is was what I wanted.
“I started the recovery two weeks ago. I’m still far [from playing again]. I do not have strength in my tendon or muscle mass. I need time [to regain it] but I am very happy my recovery in this 15 days.
“I am fine but I do not want to set a return date because if I can’t fulfil it would be a big blow. I only think about the day to day. I really want to play again and I will work to get back as soon as possible.”
Santi also revealed he was buoyed by the fact that Arsene Wenger opted to extend his contract by another year, even though they knew he was unlikely to feature for a while.
“Three days before the first operation [in December], the manager called me to his office to give me a new deal. He told me that Arsenal counted on me ahead of next season”
“It was a relief. Having another year of contract at Arsenal has made me facing [the injury nightmare] in a better way. Now, fortunately, I will be able to have the option to return to play in a great club like Arsenal.”
It’s great to hear Santi is in good spirits. While it’s obvious the club must plan for life without him, we look forward to him stepping into the team at some point later in the season. He’s a joy to watch on his day.