Cazorla leaves Arsenal after injury nightmare

Santi Cazorla has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 due to debilitating Achilles problems and will now leave the club.

Santiago Cazorla playing for Arsenal in 2015   -  Getty Images

Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla will leave Emirates Stadium after coming to the end of his contract, the Premier League club have confirmed.

The 33-year-old Spain international last played for the Gunners in October 2016 and has since undergone a succession of Achilles surgeries.

Cazorla was at risk of having his foot amputated after contracting an infection but finally returned to first-team training at the end of this season.

After joining from Malaga in 2012, he made 180 appearances for Arsenal and scored 29 goals, winning two FA Cups.

In the first of those finals he netted a superb free-kick to spark a 3-2 comeback victory over Hull City.

"I am very sad to be leaving after so many great times, I have loved my time with the club and I will always remember the special moments we had together," Cazorla said in a video message on Arsenal's official website.

"Our FA Cup win in 2014 is something we will never forget. It was a great moment for me and for the club.

"I want to say thank you very much because you always gave me special support and I'm very proud to be part of this club's history."

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis added: "Santi is always one of my favourite players to watch. His natural ability with both feet, his speed of thought and movement were central to our best performances in recent years.

"He plays with a joy and freedom which is very rare. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his important contribution to our club."

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