Ex-Rangers & Honduras Player Arnold Peralta Murdered

The midfielder was shot outside of a shopping centre in his hometown in the Central American country. He was just 26-years-old.

Honduras international and ex-Rangers player Arnold Peralta has been shot dead in a car park, it was confirmed on Thursday night.

The Olimpia midfielder, 26, had just left a in his native La Ceiba in the north of the Central American nation. Honduran police officials told local media that while Peralta was putting his items in his car, a gunman on a motorcycle and fired several shots before speeding away.

“We don’t have more details about the crime, but we’ve put up checkpoints in the entrances and exits of the city to be able to carry out the investigation and get the people who did this crime and respond to society’s demand," a police spokesman told reporters.

Olimpia's official Twitter published a tweet mourning the player.

"We express our heavy sorrow to the family members of our dear Arnold Peralta," Olimpia president Jose Rafael Ferrari wrote on his own Twitter account. "Great person and extraordinary Olimpia player.

Many of his international teammates also wrote messages of sorrow. "Rest in peace, brother. God receives you in heaven, you will stay in our hearts," Boniek Garcia wrote. "Strength to the family."

Mario Martinez wrote: "It can't be, I can't believe it. Why God? My brother, my dog. Rest in peace, my brother. We were always together from the youth national teams to the senior team. I will always remember you."

Honduras has struggled with extremely high murder rates for a very long time. The nation has the highest murder rate in the world, with a 2012 study from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealing that 90.4 per 100,000 are killed. One in 360 males aged between 15-29 - Peralta's age group -  falls victim to intentional homicide every year.

Peralta's career started with Honduran club Vida, where he excelled as a hard-nosed central midfielder. He had interest from MLS clubs but stayed in his native country until accepting an offer from Scottish club Rangers. He struggled to find a place on the field in Glasgow, making over 20 appearances over two years. Peralta returned to Honduras with Olimpia after being released from his contract at the beginning of this year.

At the beginning of the day, Peralta was named to Jorge Luis Pinto's Honduras side to face Cuba in a December 16 friendly. It would have been his 30th cap.