Fitness helped a football player with a knife attack in Italy
Being physically fit helped Spanish footballer Pablo Marí avoid life-threatening injuries in a stabbing attack at an Italian shopping mall, the surgeon who operated on his injured back said on Friday.
“The operation was relatively simple. Fortunately, there were only two damaged muscles,” said Osvaldo Chiara, director of the general surgery and traumatology team at Niguarda Hospital in Milan. “The muscle mass (of Marí) is such that the length of the knife used could not pass through the rib cage and touch his lung.”
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Monza, the Serie A club Marí plays for on loan from Arsenal, said Marí is expected to spend another “two or three days” recovering in hospital.
The club added that Marí will likely need two months off before resuming physical activity, while Monza CEO Adriano Galliani said it would likely take three months before Marí plays again.
The Spanish defender posted a photo of himself on Instagram giving a thumbs up in his hospital bed, and wrote that he and his family are “doing well despite the circumstances”.
Galliani said the team were “in shock” and had asked Serie A to postpone their next game, against Bologna on Monday. But the league didn’t change the game.
Marí, 29, said he was “lucky” to have survived injuries to his back and mouth.
Five people were stabbed on Thursday and one was killed after a man grabbed a knife from a supermarket shelf, authorities said.
Police have arrested a 46-year-old Italian suspected of having taken part in the attack on a shopping center in Assago, on the outskirts of Milan, the carabinieri said.
“He told me he was ‘suerte’ (lucky), because ‘today I saw someone else die’,” Galliani said after visiting Marí at the hospital Thursday evening.
“He had his child in a cart and his wife beside him. … He was probably saved by his size,” Galliani said of Marí, who is 1.93 meters (6ft 4in) tall. “He was shot in the back and then he saw this offender stab someone in the throat.
Massimo Tarantino, former Napoli and Inter Milan football player, participated in the arrest of the attacker.
“He was just screaming,” Tarantino told reporters. ” I did not do anything. I am not a hero.
Galliani said Marí also had mouth injuries, possibly from clenching his teeth in the attack.
“He had two stitches applied to his lip and injuries to his back, which fortunately did not affect any organ,” Galliani said, adding that Marí was “lucid”.
Marí’s wife was questioned by police as a witness to the attack, Galliani said.
Marí, a centre-back, has made eight of Monza’s 11 Italian league appearances this season and scored the second goal in a 2-0 win over Spezia this month. He spent the second half of last season on loan with fellow Italian club Udinese.
Monza, which belongs to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is playing its first season in the first division.
“Pablo is a great boy,” Galliani said. “He had the strength to joke by telling me that on Monday he will be on the pitch. I brought him the best wishes from President Berlusconi and all his teammates.
A supermarket worker died en route to hospital, according to the ANSA news agency, which said three other victims were in serious condition. Another person was treated for shock but was not hospitalized, police said.
Monza coach Raffaele Palladino also visited Marí, and Monza released a statement on Twitter on Friday mourning the victim of the attack.
“All of AC Monza deeply shares the pain of the family for the loss of Luis Fernando Ruggieri, victim of the madness that took place last night in Assago,” the club said. “Thoughts are also at this time with the other injured people and their families.”
The motive for the attacks was unknown, but police said the man showed signs of psychological instability. There was no evidence to suggest terrorism.
The attack happened near the Forum of Assago, an arena set to host figure skating and short track speed skating for the Milan-Cortina Olympics in 2026.
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