A Premier League footballer has had a lucky escape thanks to the heroic efforts of an off-duty police officer in Brazil. Brazilian fullback Emerson Royal, 23, was on holiday in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo. He was outside a nightclub taking photos with the police officer. He was suddenly accosted by the thief, who was armed with a handgun. The would-be assailant demanded Mr Royal's watch and other belongings. Fortunately for Royal, the police officer sprang into action and chased the thief down the street. The two became involved in a 29-shot gunfight. The footballer escaped unharmed, but was shaken by the attempted robbery. The police officer was shot in the back, but is now recovering in hospital.
Mr Royal, a defender for the London club Tottenham Hotspur, said he would be eternally grateful for the officer's heroics. He wrote: "God sends angels to Earth. This is confirmed every day in my life. 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 such a thing on anyone. He added: "I don't remember well. It all happened in a flash and the adrenaline was running." High profile footballers have become a target for criminals in recent years. The website "Insider" reported there have been more than 20 assaults on and robberies of soccer stars and their families across Europe's top leagues since 2019.