Doctors are fighting to save the life of Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas, one of Latin America's most prolific goal scorers, who was shot in the head at a bar in Mexico City before dawn on Monday.
Cabanas, 29, who was expected to help spearhead the Paraguay attack at this year's World Cup, was possibly involved in a fight or had been the victim of a robbery, Mexico City's top prosecutor said.
"He was shot in the head... the first report is that the bullet entered the front of his head and did not exit," Miguel Angel Mancera told Mexican television.
Cabanas plays for Mexican club side America and was Paraguay's top scorer in the qualifying competition for the World Cup in South Africa with six goals.
Michel Bauer, club president of America, told the same news channel that the player had been conscious prior to being taken in for emergency surgery.
"He was a bit confused and didn't know what had happened and he was asking where they were taking him and why they were taking him there," Bauer said.
The shooting happened in the bathroom of a bar in an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City, which is plagued by violent crime.
Mancera said authorities were questioning several employees from the bar about the shooting.
Cabanas was the overall leading scorer in the South American Libertadores Cup in 2007 with 10 goals and again the following year with eight, both while playing for America.
He has regularly been among the top scorers in the Mexican championship since moving to the country in 2003, firstly with Chiapas until 2006 and then with America, which is Mexico's richest and most powerful club.
He was in Paraguay's squad at the 2006 World Cup but did not get a game. Since then, injuries to Manchester City's Roque Santa Cruz have allowed him to get more of a look in.