Salvador Cabanas was set to join Manchester United before being shot in the head

Aveek Chakraborty

Bengaluru, September 11: Former South American Player of the Year Award winner, ex-Paraguay international Salvador Cabanas has claimed that he had a deal in place to sign for Manchester United but a bullet injury in the head collapsed the deal.

The retired South American international was one of the brightest prospects in Latin America once and was named the continent's Footballer of the Year in 2007 as well as finishing as the Copa Libertadores top scorer two years running. The forward was then scouted by many top sides around Europe and as per the footballer one of the sides who reached out to him that time was Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson and CEO David Gill was always on the look out for promising talents from all around the globe. Their same approach also saw them signing current West Ham forward and Mexico all-time top-scorer Javier Hernandez in 2010.

Ferguson who was said to be a big fan of Cabanas apparently approached the player and the Paraguay international reportedly even agreed to a pre-contract with the Premier League side.

But in January 2010, shortly after leading Paraguay to a spot in the World Cup with six goals in qualifying round, the 38-year-old was shot in the head in a Mexican nightclub after an argument with a known drug trafficker which all but ended his move from Mexico's Club America to Old Trafford.

Speaking to Telefuturo, Cabanas said: "I had signed a pre-contract agreement for £1.3million) for a transfer to Europe. They told me my destination would be Manchester United. Club America doubled my salary and gave me one apartment in Acapulco and another in Cancun to try and keep me at the club."

The player however surprisingly recovered fully from the injury but was never able to replicate the same form. He returned to the game in 2012 with hometown club 12 de Octubre and even piled his trade in many different South Amerian sides but could not regain the touch eventually retiring from the game in 2014.

The player currently has detached himself fully from football and works in a bakery in the Paraguayan capital city of Asuncion selling bread.

"I am going to keep moving forward," he added. "I like the work, people recognise me and ask me about football. I have a lot of fun." Cabanas scored 10 goals in 44 appearances for his country, representing them at the 2006 World Cup and has 174 professional goals to his name.

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