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Santi Cazorla has revealed he hopes to play again for Arsenal before the end of the season.
The Spanish midfielder has been out since October 2016 with an Achilles problem that has force him to undergo nine operations.
At one point, due to an infection in his ankle, there were fears the Spain international could even lose his foot.
But in recent months he appears to have finally overcome the problem and has stepped up his recovery process, so much so that last week he underwent a fitness work-out on the Emirates pitch ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid.
He has since returned to Spain and taken part in a training session with Real Oviedo, his first club, but he is due back at Arsenal’s London Colney training complex to continue his rehabilitation on Thursday.
And, speaking to AS, Cazorla has set his sights on playing again for Arsenal before Arsene Wenger steps down at the end of the season.
“I’ve still got some way to go,” said the midfielder. “Because after being sidelined for 18 months, everything has to be done in its own time.
“But the sensations I have keep getting better and I’m feeling optimist about the future.
“The objective is to play some part with the team before the season ends, but we have to take things carefully.”
He added: “After being out for so long it will take a while to get back into form, it’s a real struggle, but when you have been out like I have, you also notice pains elsewhere – apart from what I’ve had with my tendon.
“But all of that must mean that I am doing things right, and I hope to be back as soon as possible.”
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