Footballer unhurt after gunfight during mugging

A top footballer has had a lucky escape thanks to the heroism of an off-duty police officer. Brazilian player Emerson Royal, 23, was outside a nightclub in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo. He was taking photos with the police officer when a man with a gun accosted him. The would-be assailant demanded his watch and other belongings. Fortunately for Royal, the police officer sprang into action and chased the thief. The two got involved in a 29-shot gunfight. Mr Royal escaped unharmed, but was shaken by the attack. The police officer was shot in the back. He is now recovering in hospital.

Mr Royal plays for the London club Tottenham. He is eternally grateful to the officer. He said: "God sends angels to Earth.…This human being…risked his own life to save mine." Royal's father described the event as a "horror scene". He said he would not wish it on anyone. He added: "It all happened in a flash and the adrenaline was running." High-profile footballers have become a target for criminals recently. The website "Insider" reported there have been more than 20 assaults on and robberies of soccer stars and their families in Europe's top leagues since 2019.