Arsenal star Santi Cazorla admits he considered retiring during his long battle with injury.
The Spanish midfielder could be out until December after news broke of the need for another operation on his Achilles.
The former Villarreal star has been sidelined since facing Ludogorets in the Champions League back in October 2016 and has revealed the pain throughout a difficult period of rehabilitation.
“You feel like throwing in the towel but my desire to play football is above everything,” Cazorla told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.
“I haven’t been given a timeframe. It’s very difficult to put a date, but I don’t think it will be before five months.”
Arsene Wenger has initially hoped the 32-year-old would play again before the end of the season after Cazorla broke down.
“I hope so because once you start to go out, you have to count six weeks preparation.
“At the moment he is not at that level. Let’s hope he can come back in the next three or four weeks on the pitch.”
Cazorla’s battle to play again last season ended abruptly in March with efforts switching towards returning for the beginning of next season.
Even that now looks wildly ambitious for the diminutive midfielder, though he remains resilient and determined to pull on an Arsenal shirt once again.
A five month period out is expected after this week’s surgery, meaning a return in November at the earliest.