Soccer player Pablo Mari will undergo surgery on Friday after being stabbed along with five other people at a supermarket in a shopping mall near Milan, the hospital where he is being treated said.
Italy’s Carabinieri police said one person had died in Thursday’s attack, a 47-year-old Bolivian national who worked at the supermarket in the town of Assago. Another employee was injured along with four customers, including Mari.
A 46-year-old suspect was detained but the motive was not clear, the Carabinieri said.
They said late on Thursday the suspect had mental health disorders and was under guard in a psychiatric ward.
Milan’s Niguarda hospital said on Friday that Mari, who is on loan at Serie A team AC Monza from English Premier League leaders Arsenal, was in a stable condition. It said in a statement he had arrived at the hospital “alert and conscious” having suffered non-deep stab wounds in his back and was due to have an operation to suture the wounds.
A spokesman for his Serie A side confirmed he was due to have surgery but said he had no further details.
Monza Chief Executive Adriano Galliani had said on Thursday Mari’s life was not in danger and he should recover quickly, calling him a “warrior”.
Mari, a 29-year-old Spanish central defender, is on a season-long loan at Monza from Arsenal, which said in a statement on Thursday: “We have been in contact with Pablo’s agent who has told us he’s in hospital and is not seriously hurt.”
“He told me he had ‘suerte’ (luck), because, ‘today I saw someone else die,’” Galliani said after visiting Marí at the hospital late 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-meter (6-foot-4) Marí. “He was hit in the back and then he saw this delinquent stab someone in the throat.”
Massimo Tarantino, a former soccer 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.”
Galliani said Marí also had injuries to his mouth, possibly from gritting his teeth during the attack.
“He had two stitches applied to his lip and injuries to his back, which fortunately did not affect any organs,” Galliani said, adding that Marí was “lucid.”
Marí’s wife was questioned by police as a witness to the attack, Galliani said.