Mexico City (AFP) – Mexican footballer Alan Pulido was hailed as a hero after fighting off a kidnapper, but he has admitted that he wants to forget the ordeal, which “terrorized” him.

The 25-year-old striker, who plays for Greek club Olympiakos, was kidnapped by four armed men in his northeastern hometown of Ciudad Victoria after leaving a party on May 28.

Police freed him 24 hours later after Pulido beat up one of the kidnappers and took away his phone to call an emergency number.

“It’s something that I really don’t wish upon anyone,” Pulido told reporters on Tuesday at the airport of the northern city of Monterrey.

“It’s an experience that I never thought I would go through and, obviously, I am indeed a little scared, a little bit terrorized,” he said.

“But in the end I have to go on with my life and forget about this. It’s a bad experience, nothing more,” he said. “I prefer to turn the page and do what I do best (play football).”

A man married to one of Pulido’s cousins has been detained over allegations that he ordered the football player’s kidnapping. The suspect who was punched by Pulido was also arrested.

The kidnappers are accused of being members of the Zetas drug cartel, which is active in Ciudad Victoria and the rest of the state of Tamaulipas, one of Mexico’s most violent regions.

Security experts raised questions about the timing of the kidnapping a week before local elections and the apparent incompetence of the kidnappers, in a state where gangs specialize in abductions.

But Pulido’s family and local authorities have rejected suggestions that the kidnapping story was embellished.