Mexican footballer Alan Pulido has been kidnapped in the northern border state of Tamaulipas, officials say.
The 25-year-old striker was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday near his home in Ciudad Victoria after leaving a party.
He plays for the Greek team Olympiakos and has made several appearances for Mexico’s national team.Mexico has the one of the world’s highest kidnapping rates, with government figures saying some 1,000 people are taken every year.Others argue that the true figure could be almost ten times as high.
Criss-crossed by drug smugglers
Local media reports said Pulido had been leaving a party with his girlfriend late on Saturday night when their car was surrounded by several trucks.
Six masked men reportedly took the striker away “by force” while his girlfriend was left unharmed in the car park where the incident took place.
Tamaulipas is one of Mexico’s most violent states, and Mexico recently deployed more security forces to tackle cartels operating in the area.
Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks in the border state, which is criss-crossed by drug-smuggling routes to the United States.
Pulido joined Olympiakos last July and finished the season with six goals in 15 games.