Tottenham right-back Emerson Royal has paid tribute to a policeman for ‘saving his life’ after being the victim of an attempted armed robbery outside a nightclub in Americana, north of Sao Paulo.
The 23-year-old Brazilian is holidaying in his home city and was taking pictures with the policeman when he was targeted by the thief, who pointed a gun at him and demanded that he hand over his jewellery and belongings.
In response, the policeman drew his gun and according to local media reports, fired 29 shots at the man in question with one hitting him in the back.
The attacker was taken to a nearby hospital and is not believed to be in life-threatening condition.
“God sends angels to Earth, this is being confirmed every day in my life,” Royal said on Instagram. “This human being I call an angel risked his own life to save mine… I will forever be grateful to you!!
“‘You are essential to me being here today!! Thank you, thank you and thank you. (This photo was moments before the event, where he said he was my fan and asked for a photo with me).”
Speaking to the Globo Esporte newspaper, Royal’s father, Emerson Zulu, saidt: “I was celebrating and on the way out, this whole affair happened, which was very bad. A horror scene indeed. I don’t wish that on anyone.
“He [the policeman] went, as usual, with Royal to the car and when he realized there was a robbery and the criminal was pointing the gun at Emerson, at the time the criminal got distracted, the policeman started to exchange shots with him.
“There were around five or six people with him. Each one went to a side running, dodging, because they didn’t know where the shots were coming from.”
Zulu added that the thief demanded his “watch and other personal belongings”.
Royal joined Spurs in a £25.8m deal from Barcelona last summer and featured prominently during his debut season in England, playing 41 times and scoring once.
The Brazil international was an ever-present during the Premier League run-in as Antonio Conte’s side secured a fourth-place finish and a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2020.
Although Royal had an encouraging campaign in north London, there have been reports that he could be made available for transfer this summer with Conte eager to make changes to his squad.
Spurs have signed Ivan Perisic following the expiration of his contract at Inter Milan and while the Croatian is expected to play predominantly at left wing-back, he is adept at playing on the right in Royal’s position.