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Paraguay's Salvador Cabanas Plays First Game in 18 Months Since Shooting

Jerry Sanchez@jerrysan_3Correspondent IAugust 10, 2011

Salvador Cabanas was at the peak of his career until Mexican drugs trafficker, JJ Balderas, shot him in the head from point-blank range at a restroom inside a nightclub. Everyone believed he would die from the shooting, however he miraculously survived. The doctors were forced to take parts outside of his skull and bullet remains. Fortunately, he only suffers from short-term memory loss and is healthy to this day.

Tomorrow he will return for the first time in 18 months to play in the friendly of America vs Paraguay. He is only expected to play around 10 minutes but will gladly take that opportunity to remind players, fans and coaches of what he was. 

Let's take it back to where Cabanas debuted in Mexico. He joined Jaguares de Chiapas in 2003 after having an impressive career in both Chile and his home, Paraguay. He scored five goals in 18 for Chiapas after his first season. He stepped it up big time in the next season when he scored 15 goals in 20 matches.

By being the scoring champion in 2006 for Chiapas, it attracted several teams including America whom he eventually singed for. That could have been the best move in his career. In the first half the year, he came and delivered for America who Cabanas scored 19 goals in total for. Once the year had finished, he scored a total of 33 goals and became their premier scorer.

In 2008, he also came up big,scoring 23 goals for America, and it was clear he was on his way to becoming more than just a great striker for his club.

2009 proved to be another successful year in which he scored 26 goals and then in January of 2009, he scored his 100th goal in Mexico's First Division.

When 2010 came, America was a big favorite to win a championship given the talent on their roster. On January 24, 2010, he played his last game before being assaulted.

The next morning after the loss he was at a bar in Mexico. After his shooting at 5 a.m., he was receiving medical attention while America fans, as well as Paraguay supporters, were left in shock. Cabanas desperately wanted to come back to the soccer pitch in time for the 2010 World Cup but was obviously not selected to play for them.

His recovery has been tremendous and he thanks everyone who prayed for him to get well and healthy. Even though it is highly unlikely he will play a full 90-minute game or 45-minute half, he will be playing in tomorrow's friendly between his original club and home-country team.

Who knows how long he will last because the bullet is still lodged in his brain. Nonetheless, many supporters are excited to see him play. He says there's no doubt in his mind that he will return to playing in Mexico with America.

Will he ever return to his unstoppable form? Maybe not, but tomorrow will be an unforgettable match.

The Game

The event was packed. America fans and Paraguay supporters payed their respects and money to see Salvador Cabanas play. In the first half, he played for around nine minutes as captain until he eventually subbed out. He gave two shots that were sent into the crowd.

In the second half, he came out wearing the number 10 again but this time as the Paraguayan captain. He played for another 10 minutes and sat out the rest of the game.

It ended at zeros in a non-competitive match. Of course, there was really no need for this match other than to honor the legend in the making, Salvador Cabanas.

Everyone who attended and watched this game will never forget it. I wish they broadcasted it in a channel that I have because it's something I truly wish I witnessed.

Share your thoughts on Cabanas in your comments, please. Thanks for the read!

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