Juan Jose Padilla, a popular matador famed for taking on the toughest bulls, was left severely disfigured and blinded in one eye after he was gored by a bull in October.

Speaking at a press conference just days after surgery to repair some of the damage, he has spoken of his ordeal and vowed to return to the ring. 

“I do not want the fans to feel sorry for me,” Juan Jose Padilla said. “I will fight again dressed as a bullfighter because this is my dream to meet the fans.”

Padilla was left with horrific injuries when he slipped and was gored by the bull, the bull’s horn piercing the left side of his face and emerging through his left eye socket, popping the eye out in the process. It was initially feared his injuries could be fatal. 

Mr Pa

dilla underwent a five-hour operation to repair damage to nerve, muscle and bone, with doctors hoping he will regain 80% mobility in his face as the injuries left him with difficulty speaking and swallowing. 

Bullfighting is a traditional Spanish ‘sport’ but it remains surrounded by controversy, chiefly for its barbaric treatment of animals. 

Animal rights campaigners regularly protest bullfighting, which is seen as a bloodsport, with a recent poll suggesting that nearly 70% of Spaniards have no interest in the sport either.