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Footballer Pablo Marí undergoes back surgery after knife attack in Italy

Spanish footballer Pablo Marí, who was wounded in a knife attack at an Italian shopping centre on Thursday, has undergone surgery to treat wounds to his back.

Monza, the Serie A club that Marí plays for on loan from Arsenal, said that the operation consisted of repairing two torn muscles.

In a statement, it added that “the operation went well” and that Marí should spend another “two or three days” recovering at the Niguarda hospital in Milan. The club also said that Marí will likely need two months of rest before resuming physical activity.

Shocking attack

Five people were stabbed on Thursday, and one was killed, after a man grabbed a knife from a supermarket shelf, authorities said.

Police arrested a 46-year-old Italian man suspected in the attack in Assago, a suburb of Milan, carabinieri said.

A supermarket employee died en route to the hospital, according to the news agency ANSA, which said three other victims were in serious condition. Another person was treated for shock but not hospitalised, police said.

The 29-year-old Marí called himself “lucky” to survive following injuries to his back and mouth.

Marí, a centre back, has played in eight of Monza’s 11 Italian league games 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 Udinese.

Monza, which is owned by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, is playing its debut season in the top division.

Motives unknown

Monza CEO Adriano Galliani said Friday that the squad was “in shock” and had asked Serie A to postpone its next game, against Bologna on Monday.

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

“He had his child in a cart and his wife next to him…He was probably saved by his height,” Galliani said of the 1.93-metre-tall Marí. “He was hit in the back and then he saw this delinquent stab someone in the throat.”

Massimo Tarantino, a former player for Napoli and Inter Milan, was involved in stopping the assailant.

“He was just screaming,” Tarantino told reporters. “I didn’t do anything. I’m not a hero.”

The motive for the attacks was unknown, but police said the man showed signs of being psychologically unstable. There were no elements to suggest terrorism.

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