Santi Cazorla has revealed how the full extent of his recuperation from a lengthy achilles injury made him consider retiring from professional football.
The Arsenal star, who has spent the past 15 months on the sidelines with the troublesome injury, was quoted by RTVE (h/t Daily Mail) as he explained how he had been put through the wringer by his spell on the treatment table.
Cazorla has undergone a mammoth 10 operations to try and end his injury nightmare and is now targeting a return to the Gunners' first team in 2019.
But the veteran Spanish playmaker admitted that he gave serious thought to ending his time on the pitch, such was the extent of the recovery process and consecutive setbacks relating to the problem.
He said: "There have been moments when I've thought about throwing in the towel. I've thought things like 'Maybe it is not worth continuing'.
"If things go well, maybe next year I can play at the top level again.
Keep going superstar - you’ll be welcomed back with open arms 🔴— Russ Hyde (@russhyde) January 23, 2018
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"The last surgery was seven weeks ago, and my tenth in total. The first surgery was risky because I took many corticosteroids and the skin deteriorated. Then a skin graft was proposed and after that, the infection ate my tendon."
Cazorla initially picked up the issue during Arsenal's 6-0 drubbing of FC Ludogorets in their 2016/17 Champions League campaign, and he was only set for a small spell out of the team.
Dear God. Please I have one Prayer this morning and its not for me. Id like to see @19SCazorla play again in an Arsenal Shirt. You can do it as the situation seems hopeless but you can do it. The man has been classy, professional and is passionate about his craft.— Aka n'eti nkwa (@nonsooka4) January 24, 2018
However, a variety of complications - infection included - almost led the midfielder to have to have his right foot amputated before doctors managed to eliminate the gangrene in his foot.
Cazorla lost eight centimetres from his achilles and skin from his right forearm had to be grafted over the injury to prevent him from suffering further pain and heartache.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger revealed last season that the 33-year-old's injury was the worst he had ever seen in his long managerial career, but the Frenchman will be relieved to hear one of his key men is finally on the mend.