Paraguay forward Salvador Cabanas is showing signs of improvement after being shot in the head in a Mexico City bar last week.
|Doctors have been unable to remove the bullet from the striker's brain [AFP]
Cabanas woke up on Saturday after six days under sedation and spoke for the first time, according to Dr Ernesto Martinez, the chief of surgeons at the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
The 29-year-old, who plays his club football with Club America of the Mexican league, was also able to watch his team-mates win their league match 1-0 on Sunday.
Nine days after the shooting Cabanas has set his sights on returning to training and reclaiming his spot in the World Cup spot, according to the president of Club America.
The 29-year-old Cabanas was shot in a bar in Mexico city in the early hours of January 25 after an argument with another man.
"It's what he's thinking about, he's spoken to the doctor about it and that's very good because it motivates him," America president Michel Bauer told Televisa.
"He already wants to be training, as well as mentioning the subject of the World Cup," he added of the burly forward who played a major role in Paraguay's qualification for their fourth successive finals in South Africa.
There are 128 days to the tournament's June 11 kickoff.
Cabanas had a long operation after the incident but surgeons were unable to remove the bullet, which remains lodged in his brain.
On Monday, he moved his limbs, ate and talked to relatives - but he remains in a critical condition.
"Salvador is okay, I know everyone wants to know if he'll play in the World Cup but it's impossible to give a forecast on his footballing life.
"Scientifically, we can't say," said Aldo Martinez, the Paraguayan national team's chief doctor.
There have been massive shows of support for Cabanas in Mexico and his home country.
Astonishingly, a week after the incident, Cabanas's America team mate Juan Carlos Silva was shot in the buttocks in an attempted robbery.
However, the club's sporting director Jaime Ordiales said the bullet appeared to have gone right through him and he was in no danger.
"(Someone) tried to hold him up on Monday and he's perfectly fine. A doctor saw him and it's no big deal," Ordiales said.
Paraguay will face defending champions Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand in the opening round of the World Cup in South Africa.