Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla has been speaking to Marca about his long road back from injury, and the extent of the issues he’s been through.

In a graphic front page, the Spanish newspaper shows Cazorla’s ankle after a skin-graft which took an area of his arm, and part of a tattoo, and used it to help heal the area around the footballer’s Achilles.

Although the Arsenal player started off with surgery after rupturing a knee ligament, it’s his ankle which then took over in the process.

Marca say when Cazorla was initially seeing English doctors about the issue, the outlook was bleak, with the Arsenal player revealing advice from one medic: “If you get to walk again with your son in the garden, be satisfied, they told me.”

Not giving up, but focusing on returning to a good quality of life, Cazorla went through eight operations in a single year. Picking up an infection, Cazorla continued with his football comeback, but things got worse, and then came the shock.

Dr. Mikel Sánchez opened up the player’s ankle, put his hands to his head and revealed the extent of the issue, explains Cazorla: “He saw that I had a tremendous infection, that I had damaged part of the calcaneus bone and that it had eaten my Achilles tendon, I was missing eight centimetres!”

Trying everything to get back, and focusing on Spanish treatment, Cazorla has been living in a Salamanca hotel since July, whilst his family, with children at school, remain in England.

Still in pain but determined to return, Cazorla will have gone through a ‘medical miracle’ if he gets back and the Arsenal player is to be praised for his optimistic outlook.

In May, Cazorla went through ‘an almost complete reconstruction’ of his Achilles tendon, and added to other issues, it means there’s no real return date, or process, being laid down.