Pablo Mari feels 'lucky' to survive stabbing as former footballer Tarantino is named as hero who stopped attacker

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Pablo Mari believes he is "lucky" to be alive after Monza's on-loan Arsenal defender survived a stabbing attack near Milan.

The Spanish centre-back was one of several people injured in the attack, while one person died and a suspect was arrested after being disarmed.

It was widely reported that former Napoli footballer Massimo Tarantino was among those who stopped the attacker.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported Mari as saying: "I was with the pushchair with my child inside and I felt an excruciating pain in my back. Then that man stabbed another in the throat.

"Today I was lucky, because I saw a person die in front of me."

The man who died in the attack was a shop cashier named Luis Fernando Ruggieri, to whose family Monza sent their sympathies.

Arsenal said on Thursday they had been informed that Mari, who is spending the season in Serie A, was "not seriously hurt".

Mari was visited at the Niguarda hospital on Thursday by Monza chief executive Adriano Galliani and head coach Raffaele Palladino.

Galliani said: "Pablo is an amazing guy. He had the strength to joke, telling me that he will be on the field on Monday.

"I brought him greetings from president [Silvio] Berlusconi and everyone, his team-mates who would have liked to come here even though, obviously, it was not possible."

Galliani added Mari "was probably saved by his height", as the stab injury missed his vital organs.

Reports in Italy said Mari would undergo surgery on Friday to deal with the wounding he suffered during the incident, which took place in the town of Assago.

Monza issued a statement that 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!"

Galliani added: "From a psychological point of view it seems to me that there are no problems, even if I am not a doctor."

Mari's father, meanwhile, told Spanish broadcaster Cope: "They have been very bad hours. They started calling me at 8pm and my heart skipped.

"I was able to talk to my son and he told me that he was fine and that he loved us very much."