Mexican security forces have rescued football star Alan Pulido hours after he was kidnapped in his crime-plagued home state of Tamaulipas, authorities said early Monday.
Pulido, a former national team forward who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, was "safe and sound" following his rescue by state and federal forces before midnight on Sunday, the Tamaulipas government said in a statement, without providing details about the operation.
Pulido is a forward for Olympiacos of Greece and was part of Mexico's 2014 World Cup team, though he wasn't called up for the Copa America tournament that starts this coming week.
The official said the 25-year-old player was kidnapped after leaving a party near his hometown of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of a state that has been plagued by organized crime.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss a case under investigation.
He debuted and played several seasons with the club Tigres of Monterrey, whose Twitter account expressed solidarity with the player's family "in the difficult situation they are experiencing."
Pulido left 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. National team coach Carlos Osorio recently said Pulido has the quality to be on the squad, but was left off due to the legal dispute.
In the most recent season, he scored five times in eight appearances with Olympiacos.