Wanderers legend Gudni Bergsson has been hailed a hero after he was stabbed while trying to protect a colleague from a knife-wielding thug.

The 46-year-old, who played for the Whites between 1995 and 2003, tackled the knifeman as he repeatedly stabbed one of his colleagues with a hunting knife at the law firm Lagastod Lágmúla, in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Former Wanderers skipper Bergsson was stabbed twice in the thigh and had to undergo a threehour operation following the terrifying attack.

His 68-year-old colleague is fighting for his life after being stabbed six times in the neck, chest, kidneys and back. He is in intensive care and his condition is described as “critical”.

Bergsson, talking exclusively to The Bolton News, said he was at work on Monday at 10am, when he heard shouting and went to check his colleague, an operational manager, was okay.

The former Icelandic international, who became a lawyer after retiring from professional football, said: “I saw the attack happening so I rushed into his office and saw there was blood and I tried to get there as soon as I could to get the knife off him.

“He stabbed me twice in the left thigh but I managed to get the knife off him and restrain him.

“At that point, I didn’t realise I had been stabbed.

“I am a little shaken but my main concern is my colleague and I am just hoping that he will pull through.”

Bergsson is now recovering at home with his wife, Ella, and children.

A 34-year-old man has been arrested and remains in police custody for questioning.

Fridrik Bjorgvinsson, chief superintendent of Reykjavik Metropolitan Police, said the incident was very rare and had shocked the country.

Iceland, whose population is roughly twice that of Bolton, has an average murder rate of two each year.

Ch Supt Bjorgvinsson said: “There was no reason that we can see for the man to do it — he just showed up and asked to talk to someone and after they talked for a few minutes, he pulled out the knife.

“I think maybe Mr Bergsson saved his colleague’s life.”

Bergsson’s friend and former teammate Jimmy Phillips, academy director at Bolton Wanderers, spoke to the former Whites star shortly after his operation and said he was recovering well.

Mr Phillips said: “He is playing it all down but it says so much about the man that he didn’t have a thought about his own potential danger, but he went straight in to help a colleague. It is just typical of his attitude and bravery, I don’t think Gudni had any second thought about going in to help.

“I think his colleague is lucky it was Gudni that was working alongside him on Monday.”