Matador Gored Through Face Makes Comeback

A Spanish bullfighter has returned to the ring just five months after being gored through the face and losing his sight in one eye.

Juan Jose Padilla performed in the southwestern town of Olivenza in front of a jubilant crowd.

Wearing an eye patch and dressed in a glittering green and gold outfit, he said he was returning because of a need "to win, to triumph, to be a better man".

The 38-year-old has partial facial paralysis and speaks with a lisp after being pinned to the ground by a 508kg (1,120lb) animal in the city of Zaragoza in October.

The bull's horn ripped into Padilla's lower jaw and emerged next to his eyeball.

Footage showed the matador getting up from the ring with blood gushing from his face saying: "I can't see, I can't see anything."

Assistants had to distract the animal so Padilla could be recovered from the ring and taken to hospital.

He was lucky the horn did not enter his brain.

Justo Algaba, the tailor who made the suit for his return, said laurel wreath designs had been stitched into the costume because they were traditionally used to "crown the brows of audacious combatants and great heroes".

Known by his professional name of the 'Cyclone of Jerez', he had little trouble killing his first bull before dedicating the second to his tearful father, who embraced his son after the kill.

Padilla was awarded one ear for each of his two kills. The maximum accolade a matador can achieve is two ears and a tail for each bull slain.

A capacity crowd of around 5,400 people packed into the town's historic bullring, which was built in 1854.

"He's been looking forward so much to starting this new phase in his life," said his manager, Diego Robles.

Padilla was given a standing ovation and carried out of the ring on the shoulders of fellow bullfighter Serafin Marin.