Sports News

Shooting victim Cabanas feels nearly ready to play again

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Paraguay forward Salvador Cabanas, speaking publicly for the first time since he was shot in the head in January, feels almost ready to play soccer again.

“I’m already kicking a ball, I’m nearly ready,” Cabanas, who has the bullet lodged in his brain, told Televisa in an interview broadcast on Friday night.

“I still want to play, really, (and) I am happy to be alive and to have recovered and that very soon we’ll be back on the (football) field,” he said.

Cabanas, wearing a black cap, spoke slowly, with a fixed stare and a lost look in his eyes during the interview at a rehabilitation centre in Mexico City where he has been since leaving hospital.

The 29-year-old was shot in the early hours of Jan. 25 in a Mexico City bar, according to some reports during an argument over his form and that of his Mexican club America. Police are on the trail of a suspect.

His surgeon said when Cabanas was moved to the clinic that his neurological recovery could take several years.

At the end of the interview, Cabanas, a key player in the Paraguay team that qualified for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, was shown playing table tennis.

“Football gives you a lot of things and I still want to play. Right now, I’d love to (leave the clinic), I’d go home, see my two kids and play a while with them,” he said.

Cabanas sent “a big greeting to all of Paraguay and Paraguayan fans. In a short time we’ll be back on the pitch. A big greeting to Mexican fans.”

At the World Cup finals in South Africa starting on June 11, Paraguay will meet holders Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand in group F.

Reporting by Carlos Calvo, writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires, editing by Justin Palmer; to query or comment on this story email