Salvador Cabañas is one brave man. Four years ago the former Paraguayan footballer had the world at his feet – adored by millions both in his homeland as well as Mexico, Cabañas could virtually do no wrong. A two time Copa Libertadores top goal-scorer for Club America, Cabañas was ready to spearhead Paraguay’s attack in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Fast forward to 2014, Cabañas has been robbed of a fine career, his money, his children and is now selling bread to earn a living for himself.
The tragic incident where Cabañas was shot in the head after an argument with an alleged drug lord member outside a night club in 2010 made headlines all over the world. Although, doctors were skeptical as to whether, the then 29-year old, would be able survive such a tragedy, Cabañas, against all odds, managed to live to fight another day and even played professional football once again for his boyhood side 12 de Octubre, a few years later.
However, despite Cabañas’ miraculous recovery, doctors were unable to remove the bullet from his head and as a result; he could not become the player he once was.
What happened to Cabañas during his recuperation is also almost as tragic as the incident itself. The striker had all his assets taken away due to some shady business from his ex-wife and former manager, leaving him with nothing.
While his ex-wife Mary Lorgia Alonso is now residing in a multi-million mansion, Cabañas is working in the family bakery behind the modest house where he was born, in Itaguá, in order to make ends meet.
Despite all that has happened to him, Cabañas still puts on a brave smile as he vows to keep moving forward. Cabañas wakes up every day at 4 o’clock in the morning to distribute bread in a van to customers and he has no complaints.
Speaking to the AFP, the 33-year old, explains his new life, “We distribute the bread around Itaguá, Ypacarai, San Bernardino (outside the capital). I like the work. People recognize me and ask me…about football of course. I tell them that I am happy.”
Recalling the time when the world was on his feet before the tragic incident, Cabañas says, “When it happened (the gunshot wound) I had signed a pre-contract in the amount of $1,700,000 for a transfer to Europe. They told me that my destination would be Manchester United. América held on to me. They gave me an apartment in Acapulco and another in Cancun. My salary was doubled.”
While many would have found it hard to continue with life after losing everything, Cabañas is not one to feel sorry for himself and vows to not lose hope. He continues, “My grandmother Basilia told me I was going to keep moving forward. Well, here I am, trying to recover. I have great faith despite losing everything.”
The tragic story of Salvador Cabañas is heart wrenching one, but his desire continue to move on with his life with such positivity should serve as an inspiration to is all.
Personally, I feel the Paraguayan Football Association and his former clubs should be doing more to help Cabañas out. What do you think? Should the authorities step-in to provide help for the 33-year old after such a tragic incident?