Attempted Murder of Football Star Salvador Cabañas Shocks Mexico, Sports World

Eric GomezAnalyst IJanuary 27, 2010

PALO ALTO, CA - JULY 19:  Salvador Cabanas #10 of Club America moves the ball against Obi #20 of Inter Milan during the World Football Challenge at Stanford Stadium on July 19, 2009 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Salvador Cabañas, a first-choice striker for the Paraguay national team and the most prominent star for top Mexican side Club América, was shot in the head early Monday morning in a Mexico City bar.

News of his shooting travelled quickly along the world's most prominent outlets, both sport and mainstream, reporting the shocking incident.

Cabañas, his wife, and his brother-in-law had been enjoying a night out at Bar-Bar nightclub, an establishment well-known for attracting the likes of famous individuals including singer Bon Jovi, magician David Copperfield as well as an endless array of footballers and actors.

At around 5:30 A.M., Cabañas ventured into the men's bathroom.

Seconds later, he was on the ground, having received a gun blast to his forehead.

Upon being transported to the hospital, the footballer was operated on for a good part of Monday, before finally being declared as critical but stable.

That condition, two days later, has not wavered much, yet it goes without saying that his life is still not without peril of ending due to the attack.

The motive for the shooting is still a matter of speculation, although witnesses and security camera footage point to the aggressor perhaps reacting to a woman in his company sitting at Cabañas' table and talking to his brother-in-law.

The shooter, as well as an accomplice, have been identified and remain at large.

An outpouring of support from Mexican league clubs and fans have also been present, with a large group of people rallying outside the hospital where he's being cared for, and gatherings at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca and Paraguay's Defensores del Chaco held in support of the player.

While pointed questions at Club América's lax regulations and curfews for players may be irrelevant (it was after all, on a day off for the footballers), reports have now moved on to the shooting's implications on the pitch, all while Cabañas still fights for his life.

A similar situation was noted after USA national team player Charlie Davies was involved in a car accident that left a woman dead .

Analysis quickly shifted from the specifics of the accident, the seriousness of the incident, and the damage done to the people involved themselves, more so to how it would affect the USA in South Africa.

Who cares?

Months later, with Davies' rehab ahead of schedule and him pointing to rejoin his team and nation in competition, the woman's death seems like collateral damage, a footnote to this now-inspiring story of recovery.

Same goes for Salvador Cabañas.

Yes, Paraguay and Club América will be affected by his extended, dare I say permanent absence from the pitch—but it quite simply does not matter.

Not when a man's life is still on the line.

Not when a wife might become a widow and a family can lose one of its members.

Football is a big business. It is a worldwide passion, it is important enough to watch, follow, study, and write about.

And yet, it is just a game.

Salvador Cabañas' battle in a Mexico City hospital is not.

That should be the true focus.


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