Emergency calls made by Alan Pulido reveal he escaped from his captors himself after overpowering one and calling police.
Kidnapped Mexico football star Alan Pulido wrestled a gun from one of his captors and then rang emergency services from the man's mobile phone before escaping, according to officials.
The 25-year-old striker, who plays for Greek side Olympiakos, threatened and beat his captor while on the phone and demanded to be told where he was being held, according to three calls he made to an emergency operator.
In the calls, he described a two-storey house with two cars parked in front and then told the operator he could see the state police arriving outside.
The operator then told him to fire the pistol so they would know where he was, but Pulido told them he had no bullets and then described his shorts and top so they would not confuse him with his captor.
The Olympiakos striker has made a number of appearances for Mexico
Tamaulipas state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla told a news conference that emergency services received the call after midnight on Sunday due to a "careless act by his captors".
He said: "There was an exchange of punches between them."
Pulido, who was pictured after his rescue with a bandage on his right hand, cut his wrist when he broke a window trying to escape.
He was abducted by four armed people on a road while returning from a party on Saturday night.
Mr Quintanilla said: "Everyone began to activate to look for him, especially when we knew who he was, because we knew it was going to make a big ruckus and was going to be affecting us a lot in the press."
The army, federal and state police were involved in the operation, along with three helicopters.
Initial reports said the footballer was rescued by security forces, but he is believed to have escaped himself.
Pulido's family received a first ransom call at around 1.30pm on Sunday, and a second one a short time later, Mr Quintanilla said.
The captor was allegedly a 38-year-old man from Veracruz who is a member of a criminal organisation operating in the city. Three other suspects have been identified.
Writing on his Twitter page, Pulido thanked people for praying for his family.
He wrote: "They helped us a lot in this terrible experience of our lives that we do not desire for anyone."
No ransom was paid for his release.
Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has been plagued by drug violence and kidnappings as the Gulf and Zetas cartels battle for control.