Mexico and Olympiakos striker Alan Pulido is safe and healthy, almost 24 hours after he was kidnapped while returning from a party in his hometown of Ciudad Victoria in the northern border state of Tamaulipas.
Pulido, 25, appeared outside a hospital in Ciudad Victoria, with the state governor, Egidio Torre, alongside him.
Alan Pulido is safe and free from his kidnappers. A positive end to an awful ordeal.
- Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) May 30, 2016
"I'm very well, thanks to God," Pulido said to the media, wearing a bandage around his right arm and looking visibly shaken.
The state government said the former Tigres player had been rescued shortly before midnight local time on Sunday in a joint operation carried out by state and federal forces.
Pulido was able to dial an emergency phone number and alert authorities to his location, a state prosecutor said Monday. Tamaulipas state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla said in a news conference that a bungle by the kidnappers led to the player's speedy rescue.
"After midnight Sunday, a 0-6-6 call was received from the football player Alan Pulido himself in a careless act by his captors. ... He was he was able to make a call and ask for help, providing his location,'' Quintanilla said.
Pulido was taken by four armed people on a highway returning from a party at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Pulido's family received the first ransom call around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Quintanilla said.
Authorities found him in safe house in the southern part of Ciudad Victoria, his hometown, and one of his captors was arrested. Quintanilla said the army, federal and state police participated.
The suspect was 38-year-old from the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, who Quintanilla said was a member of one of the criminal organisations operating in the city.
Following his rescue, Pulido -- who was part of Mexico's 2014 World Cup team, though he was not called up for the Copa America that starts this coming week -- was taken for medical and psychological review and then provided a statement to investigators.
Mexican Federal Police Commissioner Enrique Galindo said in an interview on Radio Formula on Monday that there was no violence in the rescue, though Pulido did have a minor injury.
Galindo said authorities believe the kidnappers were motivated solely by the potential financial gain. He speculated that the kidnappers thought they could get a good ransom for a famous football player.
"It was a kidnapping," said Galindo, who added that there was a negotiation, presumably a ransom demand from kidnappers, though he did not elaborate.
"A ransom was not paid," he said.
1/2 Alan is safe and healthy with his family. pic.twitter.com/6YlypMnc9z
- Olympiacos FC (@olympiacos_org) May 30, 2016
The story of Pulido's kidnap made global headlines and sparked a massive operation in Ciudad Victoria as worldwide attention focused on the search for the missing player. Mexico's national team players, as well as Liga MX clubs, sent out messages of support.
Pulido 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."
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.
National team coach Carlos Osorio recently said Pulido has the quality to be in the squad but was left off the Copa America team due to the legal dispute. He had scored three goals in earlier call-ups.
In the most recent season, he scored five times in eight appearances with Olympiakos.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.