Honduras and former Rangers midfielder Arnold Peralta has been killed in his home town of La Ceiba, the Honduran government has announced.
The 26-year-old was found dead in the car park of a shopping centre, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of Security.
The statement, reproduced on the website of Honduran newspaper La Prensa, read: “We regret the violent death of the outstanding sportsman Arnold Peralta, a young player of the national team of Honduras.
“The unfortunate incident occurred in the city of La Ceiba, in the parking lot of a shopping centre which has its own private security.”
Robbery was ruled out as a motive for the killing as the statement noted: “At no time was he stripped of his belongings.”
Peralta had won 24 caps for his country and played at both the 2014 World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics.
He spent 18 months at Rangers after joining from his formative club CD Vida in June 2013. He helped the Gers win the 2013-14 Scottish League One title but left the club halfway through last season, returning to his homeland with CD Olimpia.
Olimpia wrote on their Twitter feed: “We deeply regret the death of @Arnold12_favian (Peralta) and the continuing violent deaths in our country.”
Two posts on the official feed of the Honduran Football Federation (Fenafuth) read: “@FenafuthOrg deeply regrets the tragic death of national team player Arnold Peralta, which has left national football in mourning.
“Our sincere expressions of sympathy and solidarity to the family and friends of Arnold Fabian Peralta.”
Honduras team-mate Andy Najar wrote: “How sad to see news like this. Rest in peace brother. Strength to the Peralta family.”
Striker Carlo Costly added: “Shocked by the news about my friend and colleague Arnold Peralta, miss you friend !!”