[Warning this article contains graphic images]
ONE of Spain’s most popular matadors has been blinded in his left eye and paralysed down one side of his face after he was gored through the head during a bullfight.
Juan Jose Padilla, slipped after placing banderillas in the bull and the animal struck piercing him through the jaw during Zaragoza’s Fiestas Del Pilar on Friday to the horror of the 20,000 onlookers.
Television images showed the sickening moment when the bull’s left horn penetrated Padilla’s lower jaw to emerge beside his protruding eyeball.
He was helped out of the ring after the gory incident with blood gushing from his head screaming “I can’t see, I can’t see.”
The 38-year-old native of Jerez then underwent a life-saving five-hour operation to repair severe damage to his eye, bone, muscle and skin.
Doctors had initially thought the goring – which was shown on Spanish TV channel Canal+ Toros and is now on YouTube – would be fatal.
But the bullring’s doctor Antonio Val-Carreres later confirmed Padilla was in serious condition and was staying at Zaragoza’s Miguel Servet hospital.
Marques, the bull from the Ana Romero ranch which gored Padilla, was killed by the senior matador on the bill, Miguel Abellan, who put it to the sword with tears streaming down his face.
Padilla, has been in the top ranks of Spain’s bullfighters for many years and is admired for his courage and willingness to face the toughest bulls.
In 2001 he also suffered serious injuries to his neck during a fight in Pamplona.
Although matadors regularly are hurt, the last two fatalities of senior matadors were those of Francisco Rivera Paquirri in 1984 and Jose Cubero Sanchez “El Yiyo” in 1985.