Arsenal star Santi Cazorla is eager to get back on to the pitch after suffering an unexpected setback in his Achilles' tendon during recovery from a knee injury, which has delayed his comeback by an additional month. The Spaniard says both issues are now behind him, and he hopes to return to action ASAP as he is already training with the first team.
The former Malaga midfielder suffered a rupture to his external knee ligament during a 1-1 draw with Norwich City on 29 November. He was forced to go under the knife to correct the issues, ruling himself out for between three and four months.
Cazorla was keen to speed through the recovery process as quickly as possible with the intention of helping his side in in the Champions League second-leg last-16 game with Barcelona on 16 March. However, when the 31-year-old star was almost ready to return to action a fresh setback in his Achilles' hampered his recovery and forced him to extend his spell in the sidelines.
Now, almost five months after he picked up the original problem in the knee, the Spaniard is finally back in full training and eager to help Arsenal in the last few games of the campaign. However, he admits that he still needs some time to recover his best form.
"I'm happy to be nearing a return to the team," he told Arsenal Player. "Obviously it's been difficult for me to be out for a long period of time.
"I still have a little way to go until I'm back to my best and can play with the team. I'm training with them now so I can return as soon as possible. I hate not playing. I need the daily routine of football, so when I can't do that I don't enjoy it."
The Arsenal star points out that picking up an Achiles problem when he was almost ready to comeback has been the toughest part of his time on the side-lines.
"I also had another problem on top of my knee injury, which was the original issue. During the recovery phase I started feeling some pain in my Achilles and that was something nobody was expecting.
"We'd planned for me to come back after four months and my goal was to play in the second leg against Barcelona.
"Everything was going well and my recovery was even ahead of schedule, but sadly it all went wrong on my second day running outside with the fitness coach. I started to feel a really sharp pain in my Achilles and that's why it's been five months.
"It's been tough because it was an unexpected blow and that always makes it harder to take. It was something even worse I had to take in but these things happen in football and I hope I can recover as quickly as possible because I'm dying to play again."