Arsenal footballer, Pablo Mari has shared a photo from his hospital bed after undergoing successful surgery following a stabbing that occurred in Milan on Thursday, October 27.
The defender, on loan to Italian club Monza from the north London side, was one of five injured in the Carrefour rampage by Italian knifeman Andrea Tombolini, which saw Bolivian-born Luis Fernando Ruggieri killed.
Mari underwent surgery today to reconstruct two injured muscles in his back and is expected to remain in the hospital for up to three days. His club has also said he will remain on the sidelines for at least two months.
In an Instagram post today, the footballer said: ‘After the hard moment we experienced yesterday, both my family and I want to communicate that fortunately we are all fine despite the circumstances, and we want to thank all the messages of support and affection that we are receiving.
‘In addition, we want to send our condolences and all our strength to the family and friends of the deceased person, and we sincerely wish that all injured people recover as soon as possible.’
Checkout assistant Luis Fernando Ruggieri, 46, was fatally stabbed while Mari was punched in the face and stabbed in the back.
Mari, 29, told Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘Today I was lucky, because I saw a person die in front of me.’
Retired footballer Massimo Tarantino, who used to play for Inter Milan and Napoli, reportedly helped disarm and detain the attacker until police arrived, telling Corriere della Sera: ‘I’m not a hero, I didn’t do anything special.
Monza CEO Adriano Galliani visited Mari in the hospital yesterday evening and said the footballer said he will be ready to play for the club again on Monday.
The sportsman was standing next to his 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, Galliani said.
He added of the 6ft4 star: ‘He told me he had “suerte” (luck), because, “today I saw someone else die”. He was probably saved by his height.’
The attacker, Andrea Tombolini, 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.
Tombolini told police during questioning that he had carried out the stabbing after seeing ‘happy people’ in the supermarket.
He told police: ‘I thought I was ill, I felt ill. I saw those happy people and I felt envy.’
It also emerged that last week Tombolini, who lives with his parents, had been admitted to hospital after punching himself repeatedly in the face.
His father, who was not named, was quoted by local media as telling police: ‘My son has never been violent in the past, he suffers from depression but he’s never been violent.’
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.’