MEXICO CITY - Former Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas, who missed out on the 2010 World Cup after being shot in the head, made a cameo comeback in a match in his honour between his country and former Mexican club America.
The player nicknamed "Marshall" played for eight minutes for America in the first half and 10 minutes for Paraguay in the second of a friendly at the Azteca, his former home ground, that ended 0-0 on Wednesday night.
"For us the most important thing was that he should feel happy and comfortable," Paraguay's new coach Francisco Arce said.
"He's a well loved lad, he's blessed after all he's been through. Whether he comes back into the professional game or not is secondary," Arce told reporters.
Cabanas was shot in the head in a Mexico City nightclub in January 2010, months after helping Paraguay qualify for the World Cup in South Africa, where his country went further than ever before, reaching the quarter-finals.
The bullet remains lodged in his head because doctors feared trying to remove it might cost Cabanas his life. Following hospital treatment in Mexico and rehabilitation in an Argentine clinic he returned home to Asuncion where he trains as an amateur with first division club Libertad.
"[Cabanas] deserves [the honour], it was worth it for him and the America fans who adore him," said the Mexican club's Chilean coach Carlos Reinoso.
Cabanas was shot during an argument in the nightclub restroom by "JJ" Balderas, who was arrested last January after drugs baron Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez, captured in August 2010, admitted to helping JJ hide after the shooting incident.
The striker had last played at the Azteca on January 17, 2010 when he scored twice in America's 5-1 win over San Luis in the Mexican championship. His last match was a 2-0 defeat away to Morelia two days before the January 25 shooting.
Former Paraguay defender Arce took charge of the team when Argentine coach Gerardo Martino resigned after the Copa America in Argentina where they lost the final 3-0 to Uruguay.comments