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Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla returned to first-team training with his club on Saturday.
The 33-year-old has not played for the Gunners since picking up a severe Achilles injury in October 2016.
The Spaniard required several operations to heal the damage, including a skin graft from his own arm.
“I’ve still got some way to go, 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 optimistic about the future,” Cazorla told Diario AS.
“The objective is to play some part with the team before the season ends, but we have to take things carefully. 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.”
Cazorla’s current Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season.
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