Thirty-five-year-old Danny Gottani was rushed to hospital after sustaining serious cuts and bites to his throat, legs and back.
Just moments before, hundreds of spectators had watched in disbelief as the big cat pounced on the animal trainer and wouldn't let go of him.
Although part of the audience assumed the attack was part of the pair’s stage act, they soon realized the mauling was all too true when another circus member rushed to the scene and began striking the animal with a stick.
According to the Gottani Circus website, the animal trainer has been working with tigers since the age of 18 and never uses any whips or weapons to control the animals.
Madrid Health Services told Spanish news agency EFE that none of Gottani’s vital organs were damaged in the attack even though the cuts were “relatively deep”.
The tamer’s mother, a spectator in the audience, also needed medical attention after suffering an anxiety attack.