Pablo Mari made his long-awaited return to the pitch for AC Monza on Thursday, coming off the bench in a friendly win over Lyon.
Arsenal loanee Pablo Mari stepped back onto the pitch for his first game in over two months on Thursday, a major milestone in his recovery.
The centre-back played 11 minutes as a substitute for AC Monza against Lyon, in a 2-1 friendly win for the Italian side.
Back in October, Mari was one of a number of people stabbed by a man whilst in a supermarket with his wife and child. Fortunately, all three escaped the incident with their lives, though Mari required surgery.
Italian outlet Gazzetta.it had reported earlier this month that Mari’s recovery was progressing quickly, and he could be back on the field between January 14th and January 22nd. To instead make it back out there by December 22nd is impressive and encouraging.
Monza play their next competitive fixture away to Fiorentina on January 4th, and Mari may not have a shot at being involved from the start in that game.
In Mari’s absence, Monza have had mixed results, with a couple of wins and a couple of defeats. But they sit nine points and four places clear of the relegation zone, which is the important part.
Avoiding relegation is the primary goal for Monza this season, having been promoted from Serie B earlier this year. But it’s also an important factor for Mari’s long-term future.
Mari has a clause in his loan deal that makes his loan permanent under certain conditions, and the key one of those is that Monza must avoid relegation.
So if Monza continue to stay clear of the drop, the defender will move to Italy permanently.