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Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla: I contracted gangrene and could have had my leg amputated

PUBLISHED: 18:02 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:02 03 November 2017

Santi Carzorla's ankle - the front page of Marca

Santi Carzorla's ankle - the front page of Marca

Archant

Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla says doctors told him he if he could walk with his son in the garden he should be happy let alone playing for Arsenal again after his horrific experience following an ankle injury.

Doctors had to perform a skin graft from Santi Cazorla's arm to his ankle. Credit MarcaDoctors had to perform a skin graft from Santi Cazorla's arm to his ankle. Credit Marca

The popular 32-year-old contracted gangrene following an operation and revealed to Spanish newspaper Marca he could have had his foot amputated.

The former Villarreal midfielder last played 13 months ago before having ankle surgery. However, despite eight operations, the wound fail to heal and became infected.

The Spanish international said the infection had eaten the Achilles tendon on his right leg and that doctors feared the worst.

He said: “I always thought I could play again. I never thought I’d have to quit – but the doctors told me: ‘If you manage to get back to walking with your son in the garden you should settle for that.

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla before the Community Shield at Wembley, London. PAArsenal's Santi Cazorla before the Community Shield at Wembley, London. PA

“‘I said: ‘Play with my son?’ I don’t have any football to play?’ I’d never given it that much importance [to be able to play football again].

Cazorla was then given antibiotics but there was a real danger he could have had his ankle or even his leg amputated if the infection got worse because of a blood infection.

His last operation, days after the FA Cup Final in May saw doctors grafting skin from his left arm to his right ankle.

Cazorla has since been working hard on an intense rehabilitation programme with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger expecting Cazorla to return in January.

However with these revelations questions have to be asked about his future at the top level of English football – and whether the care he received under Arsenal’s supervision could have been improved in any way.

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