Sep 17, 2012, 3:50 PM EST
Defeating 3 de Febrero 4-0 on Sunday, Paraguayan club 12 de Octubre won promotion to the Paraguayan second division, a fitting end to Salvador Cabañas’s first season back in soccer (link in Spanish). After two years on the sidelines, the 32-year-old returned to his first club this spring, still carrying the bullet that nearly ended his life.
On Jan. 25, 2010, Cabañas was one of the best players in the Mexican Primera. He was the focal point of a Paraguayan national team that had qualified for South Africa’s World Cup. He was a recent South American Footballer of the Year, twice leading scorer in the Copa Libertadores, and the best player on one of Mexico’s biggest clubs: Club América.
Early that morning, Cabañas was assaulted in the bathroom of a Mexico City club, shot in the head. Initial fears for his life faded, though it was decided the bullet would never come out. Operations, intensive care, and physical therapy followed. Cabañas still spoke ambitiously about making that summer’s World Cup, though it was still unclear whether he’d even resume a normal life.
With these types of recoveries, normal life is usually a euphemism for regular, daily, independent functions. For you and me that might be walking the stairs to our apartment or being able to drive the car to work. For Cabañas, that meant soccer.
In January, Cabañas signed with his original club, 12 de Octubre, who had fallen to the third division since his spell with the team 11 years ago. This April, Cabañas made his debut, the first of 12 starts during Octubre’s title campaign.
He never found goal, not that it particularly matters. With the exception of the man himself, nobody’s judging Cabañas’s production. Even if they were, the goals would be footnotes in a much larger story, one which got its happy endin after Sunday’s victory.
- What could Chad Marshall bring to the Seattle Sounder defense? We’ll find out in 2014 2
- NWSL: Houston becomes second MLS franchise to place team in women’s professional league 1
- MLS Re-Entry Draft: As predicted, Portland find a way to get Steve Zakuani 4
- Early approval: Klinsmann extends contract, will serve as U.S. head coach, technical director through 2018 3
- MLS announces Bayern Munich as opponent for 2014 All-Star Game in Portland 4
- WATCH: Can Tottenham stop Luis Suarez and can City beat Arsenal? 0
- 2014 World Cup Draw: Recapping the event (43)
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (34)
- Now that we know the U.S. opponents, which 23 players should Jurgen Klinsmann bring to Brazil? (21)
- Sporting Kansas City crowned 2013 MLS champions after 10 rounds of penalty kicks (16)
- U.S. national team discussion: The Alejandro Bedoya conundrum (14)
- Giovani: "We Were Over Criticized"
- Watch Out Netherlands! Chile-Clan Ain't Nothin' to Mess With!
- Messi on Safe Track to Full Recovery
- The Argentinian Armada, Favorites for Brazil 2014
- Brazil 2014: A Look At South America
- Arena de Amazonia: Host of USA vs CR7
- USA Will Advance in Brazil
- You Can't Beat German Sachlichkeit
- Aurelien Collin: I Think France is Very Very Happy
- Group B: No Walk In The Park