"I will never be resentful because I have no reason to complain about anything."
And the assembly hall of the Caja Mediterráneo Foundation of Murcia, crowded with the public, mostly young people, collapsed in a closed and lively ovation.
The protagonist was the bullfighter Juan José Padilla, that finalized in this way the colloquium that had maintained with the bullfighting critic Andrés Amorós, who put an end to the II International Congress of Bullfighting.
For forty-five minutes, the right-hander from Jerez maintained the expectation and interest of the audience with an emotional and sentimental journey of his personal and bullfighting career after the very serious incident he suffered in the Plaza de Zaragoza on October 11, 2011, in which He lost his left eye.
He recalled that, after receiving the medical discharge, he suffered "a deep psychic drop that I transmitted to my family; I locked myself in a room, seized by anguish and not wanting to know anything about the bull. "
"Until I realized that the real value is not in putting in front of a bull," he continued, "but in facing life as it comes."
Padilla said that he left the room determined to continue a long and painful rehabilitation that has forced him to undergo 21 operations on his face, which has prevented him from eating solid for a year and a half, and still suffers from sequels in the form of noise. in the ears. "For seven years I do not know what silence is," he explained.
He told after that he prepared himself intensely to return to the square in fullness, "because I did not want anyone's compassion or be a victim of anything." He acknowledged that he did not expect to fight more than fifteen bullfights after the reappearance, and that he even thought about delaying it. But he returned in March 2012 – five months after the accident – at the Olivenza fair, and that's where he started what he calls "a second life".
"I had always felt rewarded and cared for by companies, but with hard runs; and more, much more when they offered me the amiable part of bullfighting, in posters with more bullfighting figures and livestock. "
The initial forecasts have been widely surpassed by reality; He has participated in more than 500 runs since 2011, he has been accompanied by triumphs and has become a benchmark of the effort and sacrifice of the human being in the face of adversity. "You have to smile at life," says Padilla, "because it offers many values."
He also evoked the spectacular fuck he suffered on July 7 in the Avila square of Arévalo, in which a bull lifted part of his scalp. And he remembered that he was the calmest of all those around him in those dramatic moments. "I had the 'beret' in my hand – the skin was broken – I put it on and I walked to the infirmary."
Surprisingly, six days later, on July 13, he made the paseíllo in the Sanfermines of Pamplona with a black cloth on his head, which greatly reinforced his image as a "pirate", as the Navarrese clubs recognize him. His sanferminera farewell was apotheosis.
And on October 14 was announced his final goodbye at the fair in Zaragoza. Padilla account that the first visit in the capital was to the Virgin of the Pillar ("a norm of obligatory fulfillment", clarified); He recalled, afterwards, the toast of his second and last bull in Spain to his two sons, Paloma and Martín, witnesses of his father's farewell from a barrier. "I did not get her mother to accompany us, but I shared the toast with her because of how much I've learned from the three of them throughout my life." He added that the dress of that afternoon, white and gold, he gave it to Paloma, "with the blood and sweat stains intact", and Martin will keep as a souvenir a cloak for a walk with the image of San Martín de Porres, to whom Padilla professes a great devotion.
The farewell was a resounding success. And, at the end of the celebration, in an unknown scene in a bullring, the bullfighter took a microphone and thanked everyone for his presence, respect and affection.
What would you have dedicated if your life is not channeled through the world of bullfighting? Amorós asked him.
"I would have been a baker, and my wife baker, because I knew her by distributing bread; but I was clear that there was a gap for me in the world of the bull, and that I should look for it from the maximum delivery, "he replied.
Gone are 25 years of profession, almost 1,500 runs, 39 horns-seven of them very serious, and many triumphs.
A whole life that Juan José Padilla has put an end to in Spain. In a few days he will fly to American lands on the first of the two trips he has planned before finally hanging his suit of lights.
"I still do not know what I will do afterwards, but I'm still clear that with will, tenacity and discipline any goal can be achieved," he concluded.
And the audience did not tire of cheering on who considers a hero and a reference in life.
Thus, in an emotional way, the II International Congress of Bullfighting concluded that, from Thursday to Saturday, was held in Murcia.
Antonio Amorós, of the Directorate General of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture, and true promoter of the meeting, and Pedro Rivera, Minister of the Presidency of the Government of Murcia, staged the official closing. The program was closed with a round table on Tauromachy and Culture, in which François Zumbiehl, Gonzalo Santonja, Álvaro Martínez-Novillo and Gonzalo Díez Recasens went into the cultural twists and turns of this secular passion.