21 Oct, 2011 @ 10:00
1 min read

An eye-popping recovery for Spanish bullfighter

By Wendy Williams

SURGEONS are battling to save the left eye of brave bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla after it was nearly poked out in a bullfight.

Surgeons are hopeful of saving his sight, after the Jerez torero was horrifically gored through the head.

While initially paralysed down one side of his face, the bullfighter is now undergoing extensive testing in the Fernandez Vega clinic, in Asturias.

“We have great faith in him and we are not losing hope,” said his brother Oscar Padilla, who has approached leading experts in ophthalmology and face transplants Dr. Luis Fernández-Vega and Pedro Cavadas to assist him.

“The recovery is going well albeit very slowly,” he added.

Padilla, one of Spain’s most popular matadors, slipped after placing the so-called ‘banderillas’ in the bull Marques.

The 500-kilo animal from the Ana Romero ranch in Cadiz jumped on him and pierced him through the jaw during Zaragoza’s Fiestas Del Pilar.

Television images showed the sickening moment when the bull’s left horn penetrated Padilla’s lower jaw to emerge beside his protruding eyeball.

The 38-year-old 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.”

He then underwent a life-saving five-hour operation to repair severe damage to his eye, bone, muscle and skin.

Wendy Williams

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  1. I was very surprised to read in this article that you consider this bullfighter to be “brave”. Is the Olive Press pro-bullfighting?

    The Olive Press claims to be “A campaigning, community newspaper that represents the huge expatriate community in southern Spain”. Do you believe then that the expatriate community that you represent is also, on the whole, pro-bullfighting? A poll conducted by Gallup in 2006 revealed that only about 8% of Spaniards consider themselves to be bullfighting fans so I would be surprised if your readership is made up of anything more than a handful of bullfighting afficionados.

    Bullfights are already adequately reported on in the Spanish press – does the Olive Press also need to cover them and declare the bullfighters to be “brave”?

    I’ve been a reader, supporter of and advertiser in the Olive Press since its beginnings but am now seriously reconsidering my opinion and position. Could someone from the OP please clarify your stance on bullfighting?

    • Hi Hilary,

      Thanks for your comment. To clarify, the Olive Press is neither pro- nor anti-bullfighting, we prefer to allow our readers to form their own opinion on what is obviously a very emotive issue.

      However, given that we are based in Spain and our bullfighting stories are frequently among the most read on our website, we feel we are justified in covering the subject and will continue to do so.

      As for the use of the word ‘brave’ – it was meant in the context of a ‘brave’ recovery from an horrific injury, but we accept that it may have appeared to suggest a pro-bullfighting stance on this occasion.

      Hope that answers your question.


  2. Ellis, interest in bullfighting in Spain stood at over 30% according to last survey. Don’t know where you get your figures. If you don’t like bullfighting, get over it. Its a central element to spanish and hispanic culture, art, history and even language. Perhaps you should have chosen to live elsewhere.

  3. Like no-one saw this coming! If we look to the future we’ll see that bull-fighting will end. While a bullfighters roving eye is considered machismo, many have an eye for muchachos! You wait and see – in a blink of an eye, attitudes will look the other way.
    And dont give me the evil eye, you keep an eye on the news – you’ll see.

    Here’s mud in your eye :)

  4. Alex,
    bull fighting was introduced by the Romans (what a surprise) and as only around 2% of Spanish have Roman blood there’s your culture b/s exposed.

    The Spanish language is a mixture of Arab and Latin – please specify what parts of this bodge language are derived from bull fighting – perhaps you need to find a school to educate you in historical facts.

  5. Stuart,I will not bother with your silly insults in which you do little more than publicly expose your ignorance. Bullfighting was not introduced by the Romans, but hey, just look it up on wikipedia, information is cheap and Im not here to educate you. You clearly know nothing about my language or culture. I guess you don’t speak any spanish, but just in case here is a link referring to how the art of bullfighting percolates our language. “http://suite101.net/article/coger-el-toro-por-los-cuernos–y-otras-expresiones-taurinas-a68460#axzz2GGfxR6RA”

  6. Please don’t talk about morality. As a gay man I’m happy to live in a country where I have more rights than in your U.K or Gibraltar where gay people have no rights at all Shame on you!According to you the main thing is not preserving animal life it is ok to have them in cages, to slave them turning them into pets or even kill them but their death must be secret, concealed from our eyes . I find your moral very hipocrital don’t flee from reality and don’t accuse spaniards of vicious

  7. Bogdan: what the hell are you talking about? “no gay rights in the U.K.” Have you ever been there in the last half-century? This, from someone living in a homophobic Catholic country? Get in the real world Bogdan.

  8. Alex,
    sadly your like most of your countrymen – accusing others of what you are in fact totally guilty of – being either really indoctrinated with complete b/s that has absolutely nothing to do with historical facts or simply lying – a lot like that ugly Botoxed Aunt Sally – Cristina de Fernandez.

    I suppose your going to tell me that the Spanish are a Latin people and that you are ‘lider mundial’ in everything, well that is true regarding building over 1 million crap properties that you can’t sell and expecting others to bail you out of the hole you have made for yourselves.

    To quote Wikipaedia just shows your ignorance in this now badly discredited source and wrong again I do speak reasonable Spanish along with 4 other languages.

    You need to get over the ignominious defeats of Trafalgar and San Juan hill in Cuba – all the brutality you Spanish used to loot Central and South America of enormous wealth and what did you end up as, an impoverished third world country, full of little cowardly men in stupid costumes who murder bulls.

  9. I think this Alex could be the pro killing bulls Alexander we all despise & that the Olive Press for some reason support.. and give him a platform to promote his sadistic views?!!

  10. Stuart, I am not particularly nationalistic, I don’t live in Spain but in asia so your silly attempt to attack me using my home country´s economic woes or (bizarrely) obscure episodes from ancient history falls flat on it´s face. I do believe in protecting the richness and beauty of hispanic culture, even from afar. If you don’t like Spain or its people, just go back to whatever damp, dark hole you come from. However, note that even a miserable snobbish xenophobe as yourself will still not be made to feel unwelcome in Spain.

  11. Alex – typical Spaniard exhibiting the usual denial syndrome, they are so famous for.

    Alex/tonto – Trafalgar and San Juan hill are not ancient history and your economic woes are completely of your own stupid making.

  12. Stefanjo I think Bogdan is referring to the fact that there is Gay marriage in Spain, unlike in the UK or Ireland… There is comparatively no homophobia in Spain, just look at the number of openly gay people on Spanish TV…

  13. Haha Stuart you are ridiculous. You must be one of those types who spend all day indoor watching documentaries on the Second World War. I am not responsible for the actions of the Spanish government (nor for the loss of Cuba and Puerto Rico to the Americans for that matter). You certainly cannot take credit for defeating the invincible armada or Nazi Germany. Please get a life, sounds like you’ve come straight out of Faulty Towers.

  14. Alex,
    I think with this last post we can all see that you have serious problems dealing with reality,like most Spaniards.

    What the hell has WW11 got to do with anything!

    Who said you were responsible for the actions of the Spanish government and exactly what government are you referring to – you Spanish are so ambiguous and confused which of course explains why you can’t run your country in a rational way – building airports that cost billions and will never see a plane land – hilarious but endemic of the way that you Spanish have squandered all the money that nortern Europe has given you.

    You obviously have never lived or even visited North west Spain – Galicia gets more rain and wind than Erin/Scutia and Cymri combined, that’s why when Festa Celta Mundo is held in the middle of July in Ortigueria you have to wear warm rainproof clothes – why do you think Galicia/Cantabria/Asturias/Pais Vasco and Navarro are so green – you really hav’nt got a clue about your own country have you. If we had smilies on this forum I would insert a paragraph of them here.

    BTW if Spain is so wonderful – why are’nt you living there – oh I forgot – unemployment (real figure) – 33% overall/60% youth unemployment – €2.5 personal debt – public debt – pick any figure and double it.

    Your country is totally corrupt from top to bottom. With one or two exceptions – Fagor or Derbi, your companies are’nt even second rate. As foreign companies retrench back to their homelands and shut their Spanish plants it’s going to get even worse.

    Tonto – the Armada was’nt invincible,it was destroyed with fireships and storms. Only a moron like Lispy Philip 11 would have sent such big ships into shallow waters like La Manche and the North Sea – really, really stupid.

    BTW it was the stupidity of the Spanish captains that led to the slaughter of the French and Spanish at Trafalgar – the French commander would have executed all the Spanish for causing that defeat if he could have.

    BTW San Jaun hill should have been an invincible stronghold – fancy being beaten by a bunch of Yankers – really humiliating.

    It really is time for you to run away now – like you did at San Juan hill

  15. Alex: Bogdan actually said, ” gay people have no rights at all in the U.K.” A patently ridiculous statement, easy to refute. Which, if you have any knowledge of the U.K. you must know, is a silly thing to say. Besides, can’t the man speak for himself? Also, how does a parade of gay men and women on T.V. demonstrate a lack of homophobia in a country? There’s no shortage of gay entertainers on British T.V.
    Roger: I too thought “Alex” is the bull-stabber. Yet to see him deny it…

  16. Stefnajo, maybe comparing the marginal number of homophobic hate crimes in Spain with the countless murders and beatings in the UK will give you an idea of which country is more homophobic.

    PS: I dont know what you are talking about reg. “bull stabber” so cant comment.

    Stuart: I repeat, I don’t run the Spanish government so I dont see my personal responsibility. Yet if you want my comment as a banker, much of the irresponsible lending in Spain resulted from a flood of cheap credit from the European core (Germany and France) to the periphery, an unhealthy link between political parties and the Cajas and political structures and legislation which foster speculation and massive corruption at local level.

    On the other hand, Spain has always had much more responsible spending than pretty much any european country and has had practically zero deficit up until 2008. Our problem is not public debt but private debt and our inability to cut the link between the two and impose an Iceland-style solution. Spain does not want to take a bail out since it is basically designed to protect the assets of foreign banks and pile more debt on the Spanish government doing nothing for the economy.

    Not expecting you to understand economics and finance from your comments though. But please do continue to spew out recieved opinions and uneducated stereotypes blaming “national character” for a country’s problems.

    You also continue to rave about history, I dont know what your chip on your shoulder is. No one bar you gives a damn. But since you seem to take such pride in such matters, I bet you have never heard of the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (or of the English Armada,shortly after the Spanish one?). Its ok, most Spaniards have never heard of these embarrasing and total victories by outnumbered Spaniards over the British either. Unlike you, they dont dwell in past glories. They don’t memorize them at school or name our streets after them. You stir a very Spanish feeling in me reading your posts which we call “verguenza ajena”. Look it up.

  17. And Stuart its very worrying you have never heard of Inditex, Repsol YPF, Indra, Ferrovial, Acciona, Corporacion Cooperativa Mondragon, Santander, BBVA, Telefonica (to name a few). Not that Im hear to defend Spanish business, Im just surprised by your ignorance. Do read up about Mondragon, its fascinating business model is studied in business schools all over the world.

  18. Maybe some more info for you, since this is quite fun:
    – Inditex largest fashion retail in the world.
    – Ferrovial: Owns Stanstead, Heathrow, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.
    – Santander (owns Abbey National)
    – Telefonica 5th largest provider in the world (ever heard of O2?)

    Oh another defeat of the British, the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, beaten largely by local citizens and interestingly where Nelson lost his arm. Nothing beats losing 10,000 out of an invading force of 30,000 men to 4000 Spanish regulars in Cartagena though.

    English Armada:
    11,000 out of 23,000 English killed, 30 ships sunk or captured in Battle by 4000 Spaniards and 4 galleons.

    In Spanish btw, we call the Spanish Armada the “Invincible Armada” because our (foreign) monarch claimed it was so. It is simply tongue in cheek irony. I am again gobsmacked that you dont know that or that you can seriously claim i don’t know the climate of different regions in my country (we study those things at school at age 10).

  19. Will you pair of keyboard warriors quit it. If you want to carry on post your email addresses so you can do it privately.

    What happens to the bull in these circumstances? I believe they get left to live to a ripe old age?

  20. I´m done Richard. It´s just that, as we say in Spanish, “es obra de caridad enseñar al que no sabe”.

    Answering your question, I doubt in this case a bull would be pardoned. The process of pardoning a bull happens at the end of the fight, where the crowd and/or bullfighter ask the President of the corrida to spare it due to the valor with which it has fought. Its not like “the bull gored the bullfighter so he won”. The Corrida is not meant to be a fair fight but more a theatrical representation, a metaphor of the mastery of human skill over nature and savagery… That is why its incorrect to depict or understand Bullfighting as a sport, as anglosaxons (who largely invented sport as we know it today) often do. It is purely artistic expression, harking back from times where, as some people lie to put it, the Gods walked the earth.

  21. Bogdan – “Please don’t talk about morality. As a gay man I’m happy to live in a country where I have more rights than in your U.K or Gibraltar where gay people have no rights at all Shame on you!”

    Good point Bogdan. Not to mention the fact that in the UK people have less civil liberties in the way of privacy. Killing a bull is bad, but the English seem to accept routine mass surveillance of the general population, lack the right to refuse to self-incriminate in courts, enjoy blatant racism, xenophobia and institutionalized discrimination, plus more. Many of us are far more comfortable in Spain than in the UK for the liberties and rights afforded here.

    Roger – “I think this Alex could be the pro killing bulls Alexander we all despise”

    Most people don’t despise killing bulls. They are more than happy to support killing animals as long as they don’t have to see it. It’s the spectacle people dislike. If an animal lives in confined and torturous conditions most of its life to be harvested for food then they don’t bat an eye. No one cares if the sensitive beak of chicken is cut off so it cannot peck itself to death in a cramped cage or if a dairy cow is kept perpetually pregnant until she develops rickets and cannot stand, in order to produce milk.

    It’s just bad because you have to watch. As long as the animal is tortured secretly before ending up on your plate it is fine.

  22. Alex claims to have no knowledge of the other double-barrelled clown, but he don’t half write like him. “Artistic expression”? “Sport”? Ye Gods, the ghost of Fiske-Harrison walks among us.

  23. Stefanjo Im curious to know who this person is and what you mean by “double barrelled”. Could you forward me a link? Is he a contributor to this website?

  24. No way, i just googled the surname. Is it this guy? “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fiske-Harrison” Had never heard of him. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own wikipedia page! Ok by double-barrelled you mean the surname!! Sadly, I have a very common unhyphenated Spanish surname. :-D I feel flattered that you take me for a native english speaker, thank you Stefanjo.

  25. Before Stuart has another go at me for posting a link to the “badly discredited source” wikipedia, have a look at this. “http://urbantimes.co/2012/03/encyclopaedia-britannica-vs-wikipedia-a-battle-already-lost-infographic/”

  26. Alex,
    the more posts you write the more you expose your irrational contradictory lying nature,that you are a banker comes as no surprise at all.

    Your posts expose you completely – responsible lending/no problems until 2008/ historical fantasies/bull murder = artistic expression it goes on and on.Much of what you write is hilarious in it’s deceit and just plain sick and degenerate in others.

    Pay back the hundreds of billions in handouts that you have wasted on ego projects (always the Spanish way) and leave the EU. We will of course send back all the Spanish,80,000 poncing off our Social Security system alone and that of all the other northern European countries.

    What you and other stupidly arrogant Spanish can’t handle is that as late as the 1970s’ you were an impoverished third world country with few places having running water or even rudimentary sewage systems. Your health sytem did’nt exist, in essence you were a fuedal system stuck in the past.

    Everything you have today was only made possible by those you envy ( a national charcteristic). Like me, 99% of all the foreigners came to Spain with an open mind, only for many Spanish to try and rip us off, not least the professional scum.

    Spanish companies like Telefonica/Endesa and all your insurance companies are no better than theives just read the endless tales on this forum.

    I think that all those foreigners that have been ripped off by scum lawyers/bankers et al should be paid back with interest and all links cut. Those who want to stay – be it on their own heads – they will be sorry when the Spanish turn on them but it will be their own choice.

    All of northern Europe/Scandinavia can buy olive oil/fruit and veg/wine/cars made by foreign subsideries elsewhere.

    Where will that leave you in a deforested/water deficient country – back to mistreating and riding donkeys.

    Of course you could try doing a Cortez/Pizarro scenario on northern Europe but even an egotist like you knows how that would play out – then when your army has been wiped out we northern conquistadores could treat you like you did the Guanche/Inca/Aztec/Myan and Caribs – now that’s only fair is’nt it.

  27. Ok you are talking irrationally. You must have some issue with Spaniards. Probably had some bad experience over there so I will stop torturing you with reality checks. I am sure the vast majority of the other 60,000 retired UK citizens living on our coasts, spending close to zilch, not paying social security and collapsing our free health care services with their age-related physical ailments are far less ungrateful. As are the various UK drunken youths vomiting on our streets every night during their budget holidays. I personally love the UK, particularly London, I think its one of the greatest cities on earth, with wonderful cosmopilitan and open-minded people. Have a nice day.

  28. Im sorry did I say 60,000 ? 600,000 brits leaching off our social services at least. Probably more. At least the Romanians, Ecuatorians, Moroccans etc.. work and pay taxes. But its ok. We are a welcoming people…. Feel right at home.

  29. Don’t want to get involved really but be aware that the UK government pays Spain for the healthcare of UK retirees.

    And, of course, all of the money they have is brought from the UK and spent in Spain.

    It’s difficult to see how they are a burden rather than a benefit.

  30. Alex, those retired UK citizens are spending all of their income in Spain. Many have purchased properties, they use Spanish banking, and the vast majority move their UK funds to Spain. This helps Spain, does it not?

    As for people leaching on the health the system, you need to remember that EU citizens are entitled to healthcare in Spain, and there are already proedures in place to ensure Spain is reimbursed for such care, where necessary. The problem is that Spain cannot correctly handle the paperwork to ensure it happens. Incompetancy has ruined Spain, not the EU citizens who have migrated here. Get your facts right.

  31. Not too sure about that, its not what I have been hearing – but then again Im no expert on health care issues. I do strongly support giving free health coverage to illegal immigrants even. But it seems many ex-pats have been abusing the system… Have a look at this article. European Medical Tourism has been a hot topic in Spain for a while. “http://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2012/04/23/mas-de-127000-pensionistas-extranjeros-van-al-medico-a-costa-del-sistema-96652/”

    Anyways I dont know how this has turned into a “coffee-break war” between me and everyone else on every topic under the sun.

  32. Alex, there is actually no way to abuse the health system in Spain. If the Spanish authorities ask the patient for all the necessary paperwork, and verify it, the issues would simply not arise. The problems arise because Spain is not handling the paperwork and administration correctly. The article you quote borders on xenophobia. It says, and I quote:

    “In Spain there are over 230,000 registered foreign pensioners. The Government sent to their countries of origin 103,000 bills for using National Health System (NHS) Spanish”

    Well, there’s the issue right there in the first sentence. Spain should have sent 230,000 bills to the origin countries in question. If the Spanish health authorities cannot work out who is legally entitled to healthcare, then whose fault is that? Answer: Spain, of course. If a person goes for treatment, the health authority must know if they are entitled, or not. This is all a non-problem; Spain could solve this issue quickly with proper training, administration and efficiency.

    I see that you kept quiet about my point of these EU citizens spending their income in Spain. Do you disagree with that point too, Alex?

  33. Absolutely love all this argy bargy about who is ripping off who and for what. Fred seems to get to the core of it though. But it’s a long way from bullbashing and karmic pay-offs for doing so, no?

  34. unlike yourself continually stefanjo on this site, I’m not JUST being confrontational, I simply don’t care at all if this matador keeps his eyesight… haha

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