Fourth-division Brazilian club signs ex-Paraguay star Cabanas

The former Club America striker was shot in the head during an altercation in 2009.

YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Sao Paulo — A fourth-division soccer club in Brazil says it has signed former Paraguayan forward Salvador Cabanas, who was shot in the head at a bar in 2009.

Tanabi, a club in Sao Paulo state, released photos of the 33-year-old Cabanas signing his contract and wearing the team’s jersey. He is expected to be officially introduced on April 1 and his debut is set for April 6.

Cabanas was shot in the head at close range in a Mexico City bar After his recovery, he played for Paraguayan third-division club 12 de Octobre a few years ago. A bullet fragment is still lodged in his skull, which doctors decided was too risky to remove.

He was shot, apparently in an argument about football. His alleged assailant, Jose Jorge Balderas, was arrested a year after the shooting and is reported to have ties to Mexico’s drug trade.

As part of his therapy, Cabanas trained with the national team, but few expected him to return to the pitch — certainly not at his previous level. Before the shooting he was a favorite to lead Paraguay in the 2010 World Cup.

Contract details were not immediately released, but local media said Cabanas’ initial deal with Tanabi is valid for just three matches over a three-month period. The club said it will try to keep him longer if it attracts more sponsors.

”We are giving him a chance to start again,” club president Irineu Alves told the UOL web portal.

He said Cabanas can leave at any time if he is offered a better deal.