Footballer Fabrice Muamba is recovering well in hospital and his family said today they are looking forward to the day they can take him home.
The Bolton Wanderers player asked about his three-year-old son Joshua in his first words after coming round from a coma, it has been claimed.
Although he is breathing by himself and able to recognise family members, Bolton manager Owen Coyle said Muamba, 23, is still in the early days of his fight back to full health.
The player is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital but has amazed his manager with the speed of his recovery.
Cardiologists say the long-term outlook will remain unclear for some time.
A cousin, who did not want to be named, told the Evening Standard: 'His eyes are open and he’s recognising people. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s able to speak. Everything is fine. We thank God for that. He will be back home.'
Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane at 6.11pm on Saturday in the first half of an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham Hotspur as he suffered a heart attack.
His family, including his fiancée Shauna Magunda, 27, and his parents, Marcel and Gertrude, have been maintaining a constant vigil at his bedside ever since.
The footballer had a 'comfortable night' in intensive care last night as he continues to recover after being visited by a host of professional players including Chelsea's Ashley Cole yesterday.
After Muamba uttered his first words, his delighted fiancée tweeted: 'All your prayers are working people thank u so so much. To God be the glory.'
Curtis Codrington, who has spent hours at the footballer’s bedside praying for his recovery, said: 'When he opened his eyes and spoke, his first words were in French. It is such a good sign.'
The chauffeur added Muamba, who does not drink and is 'deeply religious', is devoted to his family.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle said today he would 'never have imagined' his player would begin to recover so quickly.
Coyle said had managed to 'exchange a few words' with the midfielder today but said the contents of the conversation would remain private.
'Fabrice is still in intensive care, still remains critical but yes as you know there has been improvement,' he said.
'I've managed to get to see him myself, as have close family members, I had a conversation, a few words exchanged, that will remain private as you will understand, which is a great sign.
'I must stress it's still very much very early in the process. Fabrice is still a long way to go but there's encouraging signs. We think that's really positive as we move forward from that point.
'I will have to go on record and thank everyone, it was remiss of me yesterday because I have to mention the supporters actually at the match of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
Asked if he thought Fabrice would make a full recovery, Coyle said: 'It has happened before. Every case is on its own merit. Shock: Bolton manager Owen Coyle (left) walks alongside the stretcher as medical staff attend to Fabrice Muamba. Leading the way, right, is Tottenham fan Dr Andrew Deaner, a consultant cardiologist who came down from the stands to help resuscitate the player;