LONDON — Santi Cazorla is looking to resume his playing career at Arsenal after being told by doctors he might be unable to walk again amid a succession of injuries.
The 32-year-old Spain midfielder has been playing with pain since hurting his ankle in 2013. He underwent left knee surgery in December 2015 and needed another operation a year later because of a tendon injury in his right foot.
Since then, he has had surgery eight times because the wound kept opening, and became infected.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Cazorla recalled being told by doctors in England that “if you’re able to walk in the garden with your son again, you should be satisfied.” The playmaker said that as a result of the infection, eight centimeters of his Achilles tendon was missing.
Cazorla, who has not played since October 2016, is hoping to be back playing in January.
“It has been extremely tough and testing for him,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Friday. “If there is one guy who loves football passionately, loves to be on the pitch, and comes in with a smile every day when he is fit, it’s Santi Cazorla, so you know he suffers a lot not to be out there with the ball at his feet.
“He is extremely strong and brave, and behind his smile is a strength you would not guess.”