"The hand of God was on me," said Juan José Padilla after surviving his fourth goring
Juan Jose Padilla, one of the most memorable matadors in Spain, already knew what it was like to be gored in the bullring.
Sixteen years ago, the bullfighter nearly lost his life when the Miura bull he was fighting pierced his throat in Pamplona. A decade later in Zaragoza, another horn wound tore through Padilla’s head, with the matador suffering multiple fractures to both his jaw and skull, resulting in facial paralysis, loss of hearing in his right ear and loss of sight in his left eye.
Five months after his injuries, Padillo returned to the bullring, sporting an eye patch, and earning him the admiration of the fans of the controversial sport – as well as the nickname el Pirata, the pirate.
In the years since, more injuries have followed, including a revisit last October to the Madrid bullring where he lost his eye. Kneeling in front of a charging bull, Padillo was gored once again in the face, in the same eye-socket the other bull had attacked. He escaped with little more than a concussion.
The disaster-prone matador once again suffered an attack last weekend, finding himself at the wrong end of a pair of horns of a charging half-tonne bull.
At a bullfight celebrating Las Fallas, a traditional celebration held in commemoration of St Joseph in Valencia, Padilla’s eye patch was torn from his face and his false eye popped out from his socket. The 43-year-old was once again gored, with wounds on his thing and chest, where his lung was punctured. You can watch Padilla's fight in the video below, but viewer discretion is recommended given the graphic nature of the content.
Despite his injuries, the Pirate of the bullring managed to get up off the ground and kill the bull, cutting off its ear as a trophy as he limped out of the ring and to medical care.
In an interview from his hospital bed, Padillo said he planned on being back in action within months.
“It’s more than lucky, it’s a miracle. Once again, the hand of god was on me,” he said. “This was a bad one, but I’ll be back.”