Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas regained consciousness and spoke to his family for the first time since he was shot in a Mexico City bar last week, his doctors have revealed.
The prolific goalscorer was shot in the bathroom of the bar in the early hours of Monday and the bullet fired into his head remains lodged in his brain.
"He is speaking normally, asks questions and greeted his doctors and family," Dr Ernesto Martinez, who operated on Cabanas, told a news conference. "Things are very favorable, much more encouraging," he added.
Mexican police are still searching for a man suspected of shooting Cabanas, possibly over his recent scoring record.
Reforma newspaper said Cabanas dared the man to shoot after taunting him in the bar's lavatory, citing a bathroom attendant's statement to police.
The 29-year-old plays for Mexican club America, was Paraguay's top scorer in the qualifying competition for this year's World Cup in South Africa with six goals and expected to lead his country's attack at the finals.
Cabanas was also the top scorer in the South American Libertadores Cup in 2007 with 10 goals and again the following year with eight, both while playing for America, which is Mexico's richest and most powerful club.