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26th Apr 2018

Arsenal fans are delighted as Santi Cazorla returns to The Emirates pitch

Simon Lloyd

Santi Cazorla has been out of action for a long, long time.

This remains the case, but the mere sight of him on The Emirates pitch on late on Thursday afternoon was a welcome one for Arsenal fans.

Ahead of the Europa League semi-final first leg with Atletico Madrid, the Spaniard was spotted running about on the stadium’s pitch for the first time since October 2016.

Prior to announcing he would be stepping down as the club’s manager earlier this month, Arsene Wenger had suggested Cazorla’s future at Arsenal was still unclear, with the 33-year-old remaining in his homeland to continue his latest round of rehabilitation.

Since injuring his ankle, Cazorla has undergone an incredible eleven operations to attempt to get back to full fitness. He also revealed in an interview with Spanish outlet Marca that he picked up a serious blood infection which could have resulted in the amputation of his foot.

Further reports from Spain have recently suggested Cazorla may finally be nearing a return, going as far as suggesting the midfielder hopes to earn a new deal at Arsenal.

Wenger had said that the midfielder would return to London to discuss his future before the end of the season. With him undergoing a few drills with the coaching staff on Thursday, it seems a decision may be made in the coming days.

Cazorla joined Arsenal from Malaga in 2012. Prior to that, he had two spells with Villarreal, either side of a season at Recreativo Huelva in 2006/2007.

With footage of him back in North London doing the rounds on social media, it was clear Arsenal supporters were delighted to see him kicking a ball once again.