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Santi Cazorla feels that all the suffering he has endured over the past two years was worth it after being unveiled as a Villarreal player for the third time on Thursday

The former Arsenal midfielder’s career looked to had come to an end after an infection that he sustained in surgery nearly led him to having his foot amputated in 2017.

Cazorla had to undergo eight operations over the past two years and was released by Arsenal this summer after his contract at the club expired.

But fortunately, Villarreal offered the 33-year-old the chance to resume his playing career on a one-year contract after he had proved his fitness during a trial.

“All the suffering has been worth it for this moment alone,” said Cazorla, according to ESPN.

“Now it’s time to work hard and I’m looking forward to this new challenge at Villarreal. My idea is to give everything and to be at the top level.

“I have to enjoy the moment, but I’m demanding and I want to keep improving. I won’t conform, that’s not me. I still have some pains and I want to get rid of them and be 100 percent. I think I can improve my level in the future.”

The former Spain international has previously had two separate spells at  Villarreal and managed a total of 228 appearances in all competitions for the club.

“It’s been a very special day, returning home,” he added.

“I’m grateful to Villarreal, not just for how they opened the doors to me when I was 18, but for their unconditional support through difficult moments and for re-opening the doors to me [now].

“How the president and the club do things here is an example to follow. I’m emotional [to be back] because there are a lot of feelings and memories. And I hope I can keep making more, just like in the past.”

Cazorla could make his Villarreal comeback next Saturday in a home game against Real Sociedad in La Liga.