Cazorla nearly lost a foot: who is taking responsibility for this?

Did you see the story about Cazorla’s ankle? It is a gruesome tale. Literally a grisly account of Cazorla’s ankle. I will recap: according to an interview with Cazorla in Spanish paper Marca (I speak/read Spanish) Cazorla first picked up an injury in an international match in 2013.

Santi played on through the injury saying that sometimes he would even “cry” at half time when he cooled down for a few minutes. The problems persisted with his ankle until he finally had surgery on it in 2016. One month later, the stitches were removed and… he played football. According to Santi Cazorla he was playing and the wound was opening up on him, exposing the tendon.

Here is his quote (taken from the English version of Marca): “At that time I was still playing,” he said. “The medical professionals told me it was okay, the problem was that it did not heal and the wounds would reopen, become infected… Look, in this picture I can see the tendon.”

Yes, there is a picture of his ankle, the wound open, and his tendon exposed.

Surgery in England didn’t help. He went through eight surgeries before deciding to get a second opinion in Spain. There, when the surgeon opened him up they found “gangrene” and two other bacterial infections had eaten part of his calcaneus bone and tendon. The Spanish doctor cleaned him up, repaired his tendon, and did a skin graft from his arm onto his ankle, using part of his arm which has a tattoo of his daughter’s name. He’s been in rehab since.

Like I said gruesome stuff.

Santi Cazorla, to his absolute credit wants to play again. He refuses to allow this injury to defeat him and remains upbeat throughout the interview. I hope to see him play again but I have to believe that as a 32 year old (33 next month) midfielder who hasn’t played in a year and who has played just 31 matches since Fall 2015 his contributions are going to be limited.

My question is one that doesn’t have an answer I can find: how was he cleared to play with a wound that kept opening up? And what responsibility are Arsenal and the physios at the club taking for this absolutely horrifying tale?


Source: MARCA (English) –


  1. With a decent lawyer and a union rep., who knows, maybe he’ll come out of this as part-owner. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Glad he finally got some decent treatment.

  2. Shocking and sad for anyone to endure let alone my favorite Arsenal player of the last decade. He deserves so much better than this.

    Thanks for airing this.

    Speaking of favorite players check out BBC Sport’s fitting tribute to another sublime and gifted man, one Andrea Pirlo. Good read.

  3. Hardly surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention and isn’t part of the pro Wenger cult.
    Players get injured in a game , complain about pain to the physio but Wenger asks them if they can continue .
    What are they going to say to him other than” I’ll try”.

    Ozil v Chelsea ( ACL), Ramsey v Liverpool ( Hamstring), Cazorla v can’t even be bothered to check who it was because I stopped caring.

    All aforementioned injuries happened in the first half , yet players were made to continue into the second half.

    I posted on this subject in detail on a pro Wenger site when they still allowed my posts and not a single Wenger supporter agreed with me on any of the examples I had given.

    It’s all the oposition’s fault for kicking Arsenal players to pieces( some instances clearly are) but Wenger bears no responsibility whatsoever.

    I hope Santi can make a successful comeback but at this point maybe just staying healthy enough for a “civilian “should be his main goal.

  4. I’m not optimistic we’ll see him play again (for us, or maybe anybody). Would love to hear an opinion from a medical doctor about Cazorla’s chances, based on what we know of his history. Aren’t there two “Dr’s” in our midst?

  5. Look… he’s done. I’ve read the same stories and I’m sorry, Diaby, Rosicky and others had no where near as bad an injury. You cannot f*ck with tendons and for a ballet dancer, a technician like Cazorla, to have your Achilles tendon damaged permanently means he will never ever play like he did before – if at all.

    We can stop talking about Santi Cazorla and Arsenal.

    As for who to blame, unfortunately I think the player has a lot of blame to bear – if he was concerned about playing the onus was on him to say “no”. Granted he may have been deferring to the advice of the medical staff, and they definitely have responsibility here, but Cazorla should have put the brakes on it in the end analysis.

    So summer of 2018 we need to replace;

    Arsene Wenger (hopefully)
    Mesut Ozil
    Alexis Sanchez
    Santi Cazorla
    Per Mertesacker
    Shkodran Mustafi (he won’t stick around)
    Jack Wilshere (see above)

    Add to that 4 players in their final years. Koscielny is playing with his own Achilles issues.

    What a disaster.

    1. You can add Koscielny to that list, who is due a lengthy layoff sooner or later and Ramsey who probably won’the extend his contract…

      1. I love how the club waited until after the summer transfer window closed to tell us that Koscielny had a chronic Achilles injury.

        1. The problems aren’t even new. Remember the summer before we brought in Gabriel in January where rushed Kos back instead of buying a replacement before? I lost a great deal of faith that summer.

        2. While I agree with a lot of all this, it is worth pointing out that Koscienly’s Achilles injury was common knowledge before the end of last season. He admitted it back in May himself,

    2. Yep, for the team that pretends to be fiscally conservative and who have a supposed business wizard at the helm, I can’t help but think this is one of the worst run teams in football.

    3. Wilshere’s gone and Ramsey will, at the very least, think long and hard before re-signing, which means he may have to be sold too.
      But hey, at least we’ll have Theo on 120k a week, and we’ve “kept our powder dry” so we can spend it all at once, when transfer fees are vastly higher than they’ve ever been before in the history of the sport.

      1. To be honest I hope Wilshere leaves. There is no way we can rely on him and his body to stay healthy, potential or not. His contract, ncentivized or not would still be big, and I rather have an open spot for someone else than waiting for him to realise his destiny.

  6. Unbelieveable. It’s like if your favorite guitarist lost his ability to play. Cant even imagine what it would feel like.

  7. Reading a report on the Marca story a few days ago almost brought tears to my eyes. It’s a tragedy.

    I think the doctor told him something like, be grateful if you can take walks with your son.

    I can’t see a way back.

    Tom, I’m not a fan of Arsene, but that’s incredibly harsh on him. Yes, the buck stops with him, he’s the boss but what on Earth is the medical staff up to.

    A manager can’t truly assess whether a player needs to come off right away, or if it’s something he can play through. In many situations (more often than he gets it wrong, I’d wager), the player runs off the pain. Sometimes the player is his own worst enemy.

    Tim’s right. Arsenal, as this medical fiasco shows, are not a well run club. But this can’t all be on Wenger. Our medical setup is clearly in need of a purge.

    1. But then again, isn’t that his responsibility? We’ve had serious problems for years and little happened. Things came into motion when Gazidis arrived. Before that we had year after year wiating for Rosicky, Diaby, Vermaelen, Ramsey, Wilshere, Van Persie, Koscielny, Eduardo to be healthy, and I don’t even mean the respective impact injuries and the freak layoffs of Rosicky and Vermaelen but the management of the squad afterwards. We’re/were always short on players so that we couldn’t ever rotate our reconvalescent players properly.

  8. ClaudeIvan
    I don’t think it’s harsh at all.
    We aren’t talking here about ignoring “red zones” as Arsene have with various players throughout his tenure which lead to muscular injuries.
    You can always give the manager the benefit of doubt in these cases because all players want to play all the time.

    No, what we are talking about here are players complaining about pain or symptoms that there was something wrong with them ,or about to go wrong , and Wenger simply ignoring it.

    Remember the look Ramsey gave him after he got to the subs bench in the second half of the season opener v Liverpool a season or two ago.
    It was only later we learned he told Wenger at half time his hamstring wasn’t ok.

    The German team doctor couldn’t believe Ozil completed entire game against Chelsea with his ACL raptured as it was.

    Again , I don’t have time or energy to go over all cases because like I said I don’t care anymore.

    If this sounds like I have an axe to grind against Wenger, I don’t.

    I think he’s a great person but he has many blind spots and Arsenal’s relatively poor fitness record was due to his approach to players’ fitness.

  9. And to anyone who says Arsene is under a lot of pressure to win and sometimes he makes decisions that present risks to players long term fitness in order to win important games – something I had thrown at me in these conversation.

    Sheffield Wednesday, league cup tie a few years back.
    Ox ‘s hamstrings were tight before the game’s start and he was doing some crazy stretches you normally see professional gimnasts do before their routines.

    Three minutes into the game he was done. On comes another speedster, Walcott, without as much as a couple of minutes of proper warm up on a cold night.
    Ten minutes later he’s done.

    Within the first 20 minutes of a meaningless game by Arsenal standards, two key players managed to injure themselves and be put on a shelve for a month.

    Total amateur hour.

    1. Yes, Wenger gets so much press for revolutionizing training, nutrition etc. when he showed up in England but I defy anyone to show me a manager with a worse record for games lost due to player injuries over the past 10 years. Sure, you may point to the fact that for several years he was forced to purchase smaller more technical players less suited to the rigours of the Premier League, but maybe also that Dutch guy a few years ago was on to something when he accused Wenger of having retrograde ideas about training and rehabilitation. Think of the habitually injured players we’ve had; Rosicky, Diaby, van Persie, Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla… and I’m discounting inflicted injuries like Shawcross on Ramsey, Eduardo, Arnautovic on Debuchey, McNair on Wilshere – I’m just talking about tendon and muscle strains and tears.

  10. I am with Tom on the medical front. Yes AW is not a doctor but he controls everything so either he has recruited incompetent med staff or ignores their advice. We have had med problems for about 10 yrs now so the problem is systemic and AW is at the top of that tree – plus we seem to recruit players with problems. Wilshire didn’t pull up trees for B’mouth but he did play most of the season! Thanks for the deeper coverage Tim I hadn’t seen the point about him playing (actual games or just training) and the wound opening up. Seriously folks even I know that mud in an open wound is a bad idea.
    Also the finances are being squandered. I’d agree Pogba isn’t ‘worth’ 90mill but thats where the market is AW seems to be a few years behind all the bleedin time. It reminds me of the London housing market – I was late getting in because I couldnt see how it could keep rising but it did! The mismanagement is just terrible we could see an absolute clusterfork next summer.
    Plus make sure the contractors pay staff the living wage. It would cost less than one weeks team salary and is just the RIGHT thing to do – dont hide behind – its the contractors. AFC sets the terms of the contracts and can ensure everyone working at the Grove, the training ground etc gets paid a fair wage.

  11. The buck stops with Wenger with anything substantial about Arsenal Football Club, probably including our horrific injury record. Don’t know how or why but he is more than just a convenient scapegoat, of that I am convinced.

    Cazorla is still young and has made good money while his light burned however briefly in the red and white flicker of Arsenal’s all consuming flame. And that is good thing.

    What else to say except offer best wishes to a special talent that made us smile with delight at his invention, craft and creativity. What a player! Thank you, Santi.

  12. Lol at the naysayers, Wenger buys Santi for £13Million, we get many years great service from a wonderful footballer, Result for you guys, Wenger fluked it !!! Santi gets a one in 20million injury, its all Wengers fault for making him play hurt….you just cant make it up !!!

    1. Surely the Arsenal medical team knew that Cazorla’s leg was opening up, revealing the tendon, over and over again. If they did and they green lit him to play, they are culpable. If they didn’t… then they are culpable for ineptitude.

  13. This was my first question as well when I read about this horror, and saw the pictures of the skin graft. That said, how on earth does this turn into an Arsenal mismanagement story, let alone a blame Wenger story? I mean, do people think that Arsenal employ their own surgeons? The mind truly boggles. I would be surprised if there is no malpractice law suit.

    1. No.. but they let him play while the wound was opening up over and over again. Surely the physios, after the wound opens up and reveals the tendon to the bacteria in the air and on Cazorla’s FUCKING SWEAT SOCK… say.. ONE FUCKING TIME, step in at some point and tell the player and the manager that this player CAN’T PLAY.

      What boggles the mind is how people don’t see that. How could you NOT see that the Arsenal health team was at least partially responsible for allowing the player to play while he had a gaping wound on his leg.

      1. The whole tendon revealed under skin story seems suspect . It doesn’t make sense from a clinical perspective .
        If the wound reopened that might explain it but no way would that occur several months after surgery (which is when he would have been playing) .
        If the wound reopened and he continued playing , that would mean emergency surgery then ; I dont see how it could be a recurring thing

  14. I am a doctor (albeit a junior with little experience) and here is my 2 cents :

    1.Chronic injuries especially ones related to sports or soldiers or athletes dont fit along the same lines as the wounds you get when you fall down the stairs or the infection from hurting yourself on a rusty nail . The treatment and therapies also differ since the expected outcome is athletic fitness and not walk simply ‘doesn’t limp too bad’ standard for most civilians

    2.While there is a possibility that the examining doctors failed to notice signs of infection , there is also a not small probability that the infection did not exhibit any symptoms / signs externally or on radiograph . These insidious infections are only evident on opening up on the table …

    3. The cause of the infection could be due to medical negligence or poor post-op care … OR it could just be bad luck . Any surgery has a risk of infection no matter how well you do it .

    4. The whole medical history is full of holes and has many missing blanks .

    5. Given the blanks it would not astound me if horse placenta (or whatever the new psuedoscientific fad among celebs ) and associated quack healers were involved …

    On the whole asking certain questions with selective facts is itself creating a narrative . (similar to the creationists in the USA talking about ‘controversy’ and asking questions over evolution)

  15. I don’t even want to see him play for us again, except maybe in a testimonial that he has certainly earned. He has already given way more to the Club than anyone should expect, I hope he retires to walk in the garden with his children. And before making scathing accusations it would be helpful to know who the “medical professionals” were that told him (and who else?) that it was “OK”. Sounds like he got his surgeries done on the National Health…

  16. This is horrifying. At least I finally know why he is not playing. I have been telling anyone who would listen that we can trace the embarrassing decline last year to the loss of Santi. He was an amazing force in the midfield, and we played like we were utterly lost when he wasn’t there. I would so love to see him play again. It may be more important though, for him to be made whole in whatever way that is possible.

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