Mexican authorities say football player Alan Pulido, a forward with Olympiacos in the Greek league, has been rescued safe and sound after an hours-long kidnapping in the northeast border state of Tamaulipas.
The Tamaulipas security coordination group for Mexico’s security forces said in a statement early on Monday that the rescue occurred shortly before midnight.
The football player, who displayed a bandaged hand to journalists, was being medically assessed.
Family members had told authorities that six armed men snatched the 25-year-old in his hometown of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, a state that has suffered battles between major drug gangs.
Local media reported that Pulido had accompanied his girlfriend to a party and that the car they were in was intercepted by a convoy of vans that blocked the road and forced him out.
The young woman was released almost immediately, but said she had no idea where Pulido had been taken.
Pulido debuted and played several seasons with the club Tigres of Monterrey. He left the Tigres in 2014 to play in Europe, though he has been in a dispute with the Mexican club about whether his contract there continues to be valid.
Tamaulipas is home to the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels, two criminal groups that were once allies but have fought brutal turf wars in recent years.
While they have both been weakened by the captures or killings of top leaders, their members still sow fear in the population.
About 5,000 people are listed as “disappeared” in Tamaulipas, out of the total 26,000 people reported missing in Mexico last year.