Soccer star Salvador Cabanas in critical but stable condition after shooting

Salvador Cabanas, the leading scorer on Paraguay’s World Cup team, was in critical but stable condition at a Mexico City hospital Monday night after undergoing seven hours of emergency surgery following a predawn shooting.

Cabanas, 29, who was playing for Club America of Mexico’s Primera Division, was shot in the head during an attack in the restroom of a bar he had visited with his wife.

Dr. Ernesto Martinez, who performed the surgery, said he was unable to remove the bullet, which is lodged in the back of Cabanas’ brain.

“We would do more damage if we tried to extract it,” Martinez told reporters at a news conference. “We cannot assure you that he is out of danger. He is young and healthy. That helps.”

The shooting, which took place inside a popular nightspot called “Big Bar,” was strongly condemned by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who offered federal assistance to the Mexico City attorney general’s office investigating.


Attorney General Miguel Angel Mancera visited the bar in an upscale Mexico City neighborhood and told reporters the attack didn’t appear to be part of a robbery because nothing was taken. Mancera told reporters that two security guards, a bar manager and Cabanas’ brother-in-law had been questioned. Mancera later told the network Televisa that two suspects had been detained.

Cabanas had four goals and led all scorers in Mexico’s Interliga tournament, which concluded at the Home Depot Center 13 days ago. He scored 125 goals in 218 matches in eight years in Mexico with Chiapas and America.

A member of Paraguay’s 2006 World Cup squad, Cabanas led his team with six goals in qualifying for this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Paraguay’s national soccer association said it was sending someone to Mexico City to help Cabanas and his family, and President Fernando Lugo offered government support.