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Arsenal's Santi Cazorla has ninth operation, delaying return

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has said he has had to undergo yet another operation on his foot, delaying his return to the pitch even further.

Cazorla has been sidelined for more than a year after needing eight operations to repair a tendon in his foot but had targeted a return in January.

However, he announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he recently had surgery yet again -- but insisted he still hopes to get back on the pitch one day.

"Due to some discomfort that I had in my tendon in the last few days, I've had to undergo surgery. I will have to delay my return to the pitch," he wrote.

"I maintain my enthusiasm and motivation to be able to again enjoy my great passion, which is football."

Spain teammate Sergio Ramos posted on Twitter: "My friend, football is in debt with you. You will return to enjoy yourself and make all of us enjoy it too, I'm certain.

"Head held high and spirits high. We are all with you. A lot of encouragement and a big hug, bro!"

Arsene Wenger said earlier this month: "It is the worst injury I have known, starting with a little pain in the Achilles and it has gone from worse to worse.

"I know how much Santi Cazorla loves to play football and loves to be out there every day and I feel really sorry for what happened to him because it is unbelievable."

Cazorla's Arsenal contract is due to expire at the end of the season.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.

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