Former Arsenal favourite Santi Cazorla has thanked Villarreal and their supporters for taking him back despite his long-term injury layoff.
The 33-year-old had not kicked a ball since October 2016 prior to this week because of an Achilles problem that required 10 operations in a little over a year.
Cazorla feared that he would never play professional football again, but he regained his fitness towards the tail end of last season with Arsenal.
A new contract offer at the Emirates Stadium was not forthcoming, however, and Cazorla is now back at Villarreal, where he spent three years earlier in his career.
Speaking after making a cameo in the friendly against Hercules earlier this week, the Spaniard told Marca: "People tell me that I have to assess where I am now and where I was 20 months ago and to think about what I have gone through.
"I want to train with my colleagues again and to feel like a footballer. It is hard to express what it feels like to be out on the pitch after so much time. To feel like a footballer again, to feel the love of the people and the reception they gave me.
"They have treated me very well from my first day here, it is like I never left. I cannot really repay or reward what Villarreal have done for me. Not only when I was 18, but because they opened their doors after two years out and gave me their facilities without putting pressure on me. It is something that only this club can give me."
La Liga side Villarreal are understood to have offered Cazorla a 12-month contract.