By Chris Wright
Salvador Cabanas and his old man, Dionisio
Does the name Salvador Cabanas ring any bells? If not, allow us to refresh your memories: Cabanas is the former Club America and Paraguay striker who was shot in the head at close range in a Mexico City bar back in January of 2010.
Doctors were unable to remove the bullet from the base of Cabanas’ brain during his 23-day stay in intensive care but, miraculously, he made a near-full recovery – briefly turning out for both sides in a specially-organised friendly between America and the Paraguayan national side just 18 months after the shooting took place.
At the time, Cabanas vowed to make a full recovery and pick up where he left off scoring ample amounts of goals for America, but sadly it wasn’t to be and, thanks to a profile on the striker by the CONMEBOL website, it has emerged that he’s now delivering bread for his parents’ bakery – with that bullet still lodged in his head – in order to make a living after losing almost everything he owned in a bitter divorce battle.
Back living in the house he was born in the town of Itagua, 30km outside of Asuncion, Cabanas is now separated from his wife, Mary, who has sole custody of the couple’s two children.
Cabanas, now 33, claims that his assets were nefariously taken from him thanks to some alleged “shady dealings” conducted by his former personal representative and his ex-wife while he was recuperating from his near-death experience (apparently they had him signing legal documents ‘digitally’, i.e, with his fingerprint, while he was still under the influence of painkillers), finding that Mary had managed to retain the £3million luxury mansion they formerly shared in Asuncion.
Cabanas, who now mans the flour-kneading shed behind his parents’ modest house, told the AFP: “I will keep going forward. As time goes on I am realizing a lot of things. Even the lawyer went over to [her] team.”
Even after losing most of his fortune and a significant slice of his health, the former striker (who was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League in the months before the shooting) insists that he is happy with his situation; getting up at 4am every morning to deliver bread in a van to customers of the Cabanas family bakery.
“We distribute the bread around Itagua, Ypacarai, San Bernardino,” he continued. “I like the work. People recognize me and ask me…about football of course. I tell them that I am happy.”
He goes on to say that he still has “great faith despite losing everything” and that, despite officially retiring from the professional game a year or so ago, he has recently signed on for his home town team, 12 de Octubre. He also wishes to begin a career in football media while he continues his legal battle to regain some of what was once his.
Asked whether anybody from the Paraguayan FA visits him any more, he replied: “No. They seem to want to know me only when they need me.”
The whole interview is available here. We heartily suggest you give it a shufty.
(Via CONMEBOL/Photo: AFP)