Did Carlos Tevez pay ransom to free kidnapped stepfather?
Reports in Argentina say striker paid gangsters £29,000 for release of Juan Alberto Cabral
The stepfather of Argentine football star Carlos Tevez has been freed after a dramatic kidnapping near Buenos Aires, which allegedly ended with a ransom being paid.
Juan Alberto Cabral, who helped raise Tevez after the death of his real father, was snatched on Tuesday morning while driving his car in Moron, approximately 20 miles west of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires. The BBC reports that Tevez's family then "received several calls from the men demanding a ransom" in return for the release of Cabral.
According to Argentine newspaper, Clarin, a ransom of 400,000 pesos (around £29,000) was paid and Cabral was released unharmed after eight hours in captivity. The country's Security Secretary, Sergio Berni, said the ransom "was paid adhering to the country's security protocol".
A spokesman for the Tevez family, lawyer Gustavo Galasso, confirmed that Cabral was "in good shape" following the end of his ordeal but refused to confirm that a ransom had been paid.
According to Buenos Aires governor Daniel Scioli the kidnappers had not specifically targeted Cabral but merely got lucky. "It was a random kidnapping that began when the criminals stole his car, and decided to abduct him after realising he was Tevez's father," Scioli told the C5N TV station, reports Bloomberg. "Now we're going to look for those responsible."
It's not the first time that the family of a famous footballer has been kidnapped in Argentina: a dozen years ago the brother of former Argentina midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme was kidnapped and it was subsequently claimed that he paid almost £100,000 to secure his release.
It's believed that Juventus have told Tevez, who's had spells with Manchester City and United, he could return to Argentina if he wished but the player has decided to remain in Italy after consulting his family.
Tevez had a traumatic upbringing in Ejercito de Los Andes, an impoverished neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. His father was shot dead when he was five years old and his mother later remarried to Cabral. The strength of his relationship with his stepfather was evident in March this year when he tweeted: "You taught me to be a man. My sadnesses and my achievements are yours. I love you old man! Happy birthday."