Arsenal defender Pablo Mari will undergo surgery on his back on Friday after being stabbed in a supermarket attack in Milan on Thursday.
Mari, who is understood to be conscious and not in a serious condition, was among six people attacked at a shopping center in the Italian city.
The 29-year-old, currently on a season-long loan at Monza, is now recovering in the Niguarda hospital, with local reports claiming one of six victims – said to be an employee of the supermarket – has died.
Quoted in Gazzetta dello SportMari said: “Today I was lucky, because I saw a person die in front of me.”
The Italian newspaper said that Mari had been walking with his wife and son – who was in a trolley – in the shop in Assago near Milan when he felt a pain in his back before seeing the attacker, later identified as a 46-year-old man and arrested by police, stab another person in the throat. Sky Italy report that investigators have ruled out terrorism.
After spending the night in hospital, Mari will undergo surgery on damaged muscles on Friday.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said Mari “seems to be OK”.
“I know [club technical director] Edu has been in touch with his relatives,” said Arteta after Thursday’s 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League.
“He is in hospital. He seems to be ok. I will get a briefing now about what happened.”
Arsenal issued a club statement on Thursday night: “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 is in hospital and is not seriously hurt.
“Our thoughts are with Pablo and the other victims of this terrible incident.”
Monza chief executive Adriano Galliani has told Sky Italy Mari was stabbed in the back and has a “fairly deep wound”, but his injuries are not life-threatening.
Galliani said: “Pablo Mari had a fairly deep wound on his back, which fortunately did not touch vital organs such as the lungs or others.
“His life is not in danger, he should recover quickly.”
Galliani later also told Sky Italy that Mari, who is 6ft 4ins, was “saved” due to his height, and confirmed Mari had his son in the shopping trolley.
“He told me about this incredible incident,” said Galliani. “He had his son in a trolley and his wife next to him. He didn’t notice anything. He then felt something painful in his back, which was the criminal’s knife.
“Unfortunately, he also saw the criminal stab someone in the throat. He saw everything that happened and it was deeply disturbing.”
Mari is recovering at the Niguarda hospital and told Galliani he wants to be back in training on Monday.
On Twitter Galliani wrote: “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.”