Mexican soccer player Alan Pulido was rescued within a day of his kidnapping in the restive northeastern state of Tamaulipas after he was able to make a phone call and alert authorities of his location, a state official said on Monday.
The 25-year-old Mexico national team player and striker for the Greek soccer team Olympiakos disappeared in his hometown of Ciudad Victoria on Saturday night, when he was intercepted by gunmen after leaving a party.
“The most important thing is that is he is here with us,” Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantu told reporters in footage broadcast on local television, standing next to Pulido.
The player was wearing a multicolored tank top and shorts and had a bandage around his right hand.
“He was able to make a call and ask for help and provide his location,” Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla told reporters. It was not immediately clear how he was able to make a call to authorities.
Federal and state security forces were able to rescue the soccer player quickly from a safe house, where one of his kidnappers was arrested, he said.
Pulido was in a “good state of health” and was with his family after he received medical and psychological attention following his rescue, Quintanilla said.
State officials have identified his kidnappers only as members of a local crime gang, without specifying if they are connected to the feared Zetas drug cartel, which controls much of the state.
Tamaulipas, which abuts the U.S. state of Texas, is an especially violent part of Mexico, which is grappling with grisly drug gang violence.
Pulido was a member of the Mexican national team that went to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He has also played for the Greek team Levadiakos and the Mexican club Tigres.
(Reporting by Simon Gardner and Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Tom Heneghan and Dan Grebler)