Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla was left off the Gunners' team photo for the 2017/18 season as he had an appointment with a doctor in Spain.

The Spaniard has been struggling with fitness issues in recent years. He last featured for the north London club in their 6-0 win over Ludogorets Razgrad last October and since then has been on the sidelines.

Cazorla was left out of Arsene Wenger's 25-man squad for the Premier League and his latest absence from the team photo raised few concerns. According to the Mirror, Arsenal star was given permission to see his doctor in Spain, which forced him to miss the team photo of the season.

He underwent a surgery on an ankle injury and is in his final stages of his recovery. There were reports suggesting that Cazorla was considering retirement following the injury nightmare.

However, the midfielder has ruled out the suggestion and admitted that Arsenal fans will see him return to the pitch later this season. He also thanked Wenger for giving him a new one –year deal.

"Do not pay attention to that [rumours]. Those who want to retire me will get to see me [play] again. I will return," Cazorla explained.

"I do not know how far I am [off returning] but I am convinced that I am going to play football again and at my best level. I am working on it and hopefully it can be as soon as possible. I am convinced that I will come back."

Wenger remains positive about Cazorla's recovery and expects the 32-year-old to return from injury after Christmas.

"He is having his first run today (Thursday). The flexibility of his ankle is good. His mobility is good," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"Now it is about getting back to full fitness without having any setbacks so it is very difficult to predict when he will be available again.

"It won't be before Christmas, that's why I didn't involve him in the Europa League squad but I hope after Christmas he will be available. But it looks positive."

Santi Cazorla
Santi Cazorla last featured for Arsenal in October 2016 Getty