Former Rangers midfielder and Honduras international Arnold Peralta has been shot dead in his home town of La Ceiba, the Honduran government has confirmed.
The 26-year-old, who left Scottish club Rangers in January this year, was found dead in the car park of a shopping centre.
A statement from the Honduras Ministry of Security – which was republished by Honduran newspaper La Ceiba – 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.”
The motive behind the killing is not known, although robbery has been ruled out, and there have not been any arrests made. The statement added: “At no time was he stripped of his belongings.”
Peralta had been capped 24 times for Honduras and played at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well as the 2012 London Olympics.
He left Rangers earlier this year after spending 18 months with the Scottish club, having joined from CD Vida in June 2013. While with Rangers, Peralta won the 2013/14 Scottish League One title, but he returned home after joining CD Olimpia during the January transfer window.
Peralta was due to play for his country in an international friendly against Cuba next week.
The Honduras Football Federation posted a message on their Twitter feed, which 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.”
Olimpia wrote: “We deeply regret the death of Arnold12-favian (Peralta) and the continuing violent deaths in our country.”
Anderlecht winger Andy Najar said of his Honduras team-mate: “How sad to see news like this. Rest in peace brother. Strength to the Peralta family.”
Honduras striker Carlo Costly added: “Shocked by the news about my friend and colleague Arnold Peralta, miss you friend !!”