Arsenal star Pablo Mari says he is 'lucky' to be alive

‘Today I saw someone else die’: Arsenal star Pablo Mari says he is ‘lucky’ to be alive as he prepares to have surgery after supermarket bloodbath stabbing – while football chief says star’s 6ft 4ins height ‘saved’ him as knife missed vital organs

  • One dead and five injured – including on-loan Arsenal defender Pablo Mari – after knife attack in Milan, Italy 
  • 30-year-old checkout worker killed after 46-year-old man grabbed blade from shelves and attacked people 
  • Mari, who was shopping with wife Veronica and son Pablo, four, was hit in the face and stabbed in the back 
  • He is now in hospital in non-life-threatening condition and awaiting surgery to reduce muscle damage, while Veronica described the terrifying moment she ‘saw someone die in front of me’ 

Arsenal star Pablo Mari has said he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after surviving a stabbing frenzy in a Milan supermarket yesterday as he faces surgery today for the knife wound in his back.

The defender, on loan to Italian club Monza from the north London side, was one of five injured in the rampage while another person was killed in a Carrefour supermarket at the Milanofiori di Assago shopping mall.

The 29-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘Today I was lucky, because I saw a person die in front of me.’

A 30-year-old checkout assistant was fatally stabbed while Mari was punched in the face and stabbed in the back, Monza chief Adriano Galliani said. 

The footballer does not have life-threatening injuries but was still receiving medical attention at the Niguarda hospital in Milan.

Mari is now in hospital in Milan where he is expected to undergo surgery to reduce muscle damage to his back, though his condition is described as non-life-threatening. 

‘He told me he had “suerte” (luck), because, “today I saw someone else die,”‘ Monza CEO Adriano Galliani said after visiting Mari at the hospital late Thursday.

Galliani revealed the sportsman was standing next to wife Veronica and had four-year-old son Pablo in a trolley in front of him when he ‘felt something painful’ and realised he had been stabbed. The family then witnessed the attacker knife someone in the throat, Mr Galliani added, describing the ordeal as ‘deeply disturbing’. 

‘He was probably saved by his height,’ Galliani said of the 6-foot-4 Mari. ‘He was hit in the back and then he saw this delinquent stab someone in the throat.’

The attack took place at around 6.30pm Thursday when a 46-year-old man – believed to have mental health issues – grabbed a knife from the shelves and began attacking people with it. Police have ruled out terrorism as a motive.

Arsenal star Pablo Mari (pictured with wife Veronica) has said he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after surviving a stabbing frenzy in a Milan supermarket yesterday as he faces surgery today for the knife wound in his back

Pablo Mari (right), a defender for Arsenal who is on loan to Monza in Italy, was punched in the face and stabbed in the back during a knife attack in a supermarket on Wednesday evening as he shopped with wife Veronica (left) and son Pablo (centre) 

The incident took place in a Carrefour in the Milanofiori di Assago shopping centre at about 6.30pm on Thursday when a 46-year-old man – who has since been arrested – took a knife from the shelves and attacked people with it

A 46-year-old man is believed to have picked up a knife from the shelves in the supermarket and then started randomly stabbing people. He has been arrested and taken into police custody.

A 30-year-old checkout assistant was fatally stabbed while Mari was punched in the face and stabbed in the back, Monza chief Adriano Galliani said (pictured)

Mari has a ‘fairly deep wound’ to his back but the knife missed the player’s vital organs thanks to his 6ft 4ins height which ‘saved’ him, Mr Galliani added. Veronica and Pablo also witnessed the attack, though were not injured.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope last night, Mari’s father – also called Pablo – said that he first found out about the incident at 8pm and his son had told them he was ‘fine’ and that he ‘loved them very much.’

He added: ‘I didn’t know anything. I wasn’t watching TV or anything and family members started calling over and over… and my heart nearly failed.’

‘[Veronica] just told us they were taking him to the hospital and nothing more. After she said don’t call [son] Pablo, he is by her side and he’s feeling well, it was all just a fright… and she saw someone die in front of her.’

Mari was walking with his wife Veronica and their little son in the supermarket, according to Riformista.

The 29-year-old Spaniard, who is currently on loan playing for Italian football club Monza, was one of six people attacked near Milan. Four men, aged 28, 30, 40 and 80, were reportedly left in a serious condition in the attack, with a cashier rushed to a hospital in Rozzano.

One of the victims – reported to be the 30-year-old – has since passed away. Two elderly women are said to be in a less serious condition, while Mari was airlifted to Niguarda Hospital and is conscious.

He has received visits from the managing director of Monza, Adriano Galliani, and coach Raffaele Palladino.

Galliani was quoted by Sky Sports Italy as saying: ‘Pablo Mari had a fairly deep wound on his back, which fortunately did not touch vital organs such as the lungs or other.

‘His life is not in danger, he should recover quickly,’ Galliani added.

Sources at Arsenal earlier told MailOnline Mari’s agent had described the wound as being a superficial leg injury.

A 46-year-old man is believed to have picked up a knife from the shelves in the supermarket and then started randomly stabbing people. He has been arrested and taken into police custody. 

The motive for the attacks was unknown. Italian authorities said there were no elements to suggest terrorism, LaPresse reported. 

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s manager, confirmed the club’s technical director Edu Gaspar had been in contact with Mari’s relatives.

Speaking after Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven, he said: ‘I just found out, I know Edu has been in touch with his family… he’s in hospital, he seems to be ok. Hopefully he’s ok.’  

A statement on Arsenal’s website read: ‘We are all shocked to hear the dreadful news about the stabbing in Italy, which has put a number of people in hospital including our on-loan centre-back Pablo Mari.

‘We have been in contact with Pablo’s agent who has told us he’s in hospital and is not seriously hurt. Our thoughts are with Pablo and the other victims of this dreadful incident.’

A Monza statement read: ‘Pablo Mari has quite a deep cut to his back, but fortunately it did not reach any vital organs like the lungs or anything else. 

‘His life is not in danger, he should recover quickly. He has some lesions, but not very serious. He is conscious and getting stitches.’

Monza’s president Galliani released a statement via the club’s official Twitter account which read: ‘Dear Pablo, we are all here close to you and your family, we love you, keep fighting as you know how to do, you are a warrior and you will get well soon.’

The Carabinieri police in Assago, who were investigating the attacks, refused to confirm any details.

Arsenal defender Pablo Mari was ‘stabbed and seriously hurt’ in a supermarket in northern Italy tonight with one victim dying from their injuries 

Monza’s president Galliani released a statement via the club’s official Twitter account which read: ‘Dear Pablo, we are all here close to you and your family, we love you, keep fighting as you know how to do, you are a warrior and you will get well soon’

Mari completed a loan move to the Serie A side for the 2022-23 season in August after making 22 appearances for the Gunners

Witnesses told ANSA they saw people fleeing the supermarket in shock, and as the gravity of the situation became clear, shop workers pulled down the store’s shutters.

The Carrefour supermarket chain said that police and ambulance crews responded immediately to calls alerting them about the attack. 

The chain expressed its sympathies to employees and clients affected by the attack and said it was offering them psychological support.

A witness told La Repubblica: ‘We were at the bar and we thought it was a robbery because we saw some boys and a lady running, then we saw more and more people with upset faces and we realised that something serious had happened.’ 

Mari completed a loan move to the Serie A side for the 2022-23 season in August after making 22 appearances for the Gunners.

The Spaniard initially joined Arsenal on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo in January 2020 and made the move permanent the following summer.

Mari spent the second half of last season in Italy on loan at Udinese, where he made 15 appearances.

‘Everyone at Arsenal wishes Pablo well in Italy with AC Monza during this next stage of his career,’ said a statement on the club website.

‘The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.’

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