Thursday 30 March 2017

Ex-Rangers midfielder Arnold Peralta shot dead in Honduras

Arnold Peralta in action for Rangers during the The William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round match at Ibrox Stadium on November 1, 2013 in Glasgow. Photo: Getty Images)
Arnold Peralta in action for Rangers during the The William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round match at Ibrox Stadium on November 1, 2013 in Glasgow. Photo: Getty Images)
Arnold Peralta in action for Rangers against Airdrieonians during the The William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round match at Ibrox Stadium in 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Honduras' midfielder Arnold Peralta during a friendly football match against Japan in 2014. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Arnold Peralta in 2012. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Honduras' Arnold Peralta (R) and Jerri Bengtson (L) celebrate after scoring against Venezuela during a friendly match Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Arnold Peralta in action for Honduras. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Arnold Peralta in action for Honduras in 2014. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

A Honduran national team footballer has been shot dead in a shopping mall car park in his hometown of La Ceiba on the country's Caribbean coast.

Arnold Peralta, who used to play for Scottish team Rangers FC, was killed outside the Uniplaza mall, police said in a statement.

He was in his hometown on holiday following the conclusion of his team Club Deportivo Olimpia's season.

Police said no suspects were in custody and the motive for the attack was unknown. In a second statement, officials ruled out robbery as a possible motive.

The country is plagued by gang violence and has one of the world's highest homicide rates.

The player's father, Carlos Peralta, confirmed the death at a news conference. "This is terrible. They killed my exemplary son. I can't say more because of the pain I feel."

Arnold Peralta in action for Rangers against Airdrieonians during the The William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round match at Ibrox Stadium in 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Arnold Peralta in action for Rangers against Airdrieonians during the The William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round match at Ibrox Stadium in 2013. Photo: Getty Images

Osman Madrid, director of the Honduran national football federation, said, "This is a tragic death that the national sport mourns."

Peralta, a 26-year-old midfielder, joined Olimpia in the Honduran national football league this year. Olimpia was eliminated from the league's semifinal last weekend by its archrival, Motagua.

The football club expressed its condolences through its official Twitter account.

Peralta had been scheduled to play in the national team's friendly match against Cuba next week.

In his professional career, he previously played for Rangers and Club Deportivo Vida in Honduras.

He represented Honduras at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He was captain of the under-20 national team.

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