Brazil international Hulk has been released unharmed after being abducted in the north-eastern city of Campina Grande.
Angelica Aparecida Vieria de Souza was reported missing on Monday afternoon by a friend who believed she had been kidnapped.
Police officer Kalina Suerde rang Souza’s phone shortly after the report had been made, only to be answered by a gang member impersonating her husband.
Friends and family initially feared the worst but she was soon returned after her abductors bickered over ransom demands.
Investigator Marcos Paulo told The Associated Press: “She told us that she was abducted but wasn’t hurt, that’s what is important. We are continuing our investigation to understand exactly what happened. If it was indeed a kidnapping, as it seems it was, we have to work to find those responsible for it.”
In recent years, fellow countrymen Robinho and Luis Fabiano have both had their mothers kidnapped and held in captivity for several weeks before being returned unharmed, and in the Premier League, John Obi Mikel’s father was kidnapped in 2011 but eventually released by his captors.
It is unknown whether Hulk’s sister was deliberately targeted. The Brazilian forward became one of the world’s most expensive players in the summer following his £39.5 million move to Zenit St Petersburg, along with a contract that pays £6million per year.
However, Souza could have also been victim to an express kidnapping, a common crime in Brazil, where gang members abduct an individual, usually at gunpoint, and command them to withdraw funds from ATM machines until their account is empty. As yet, no one has been arrested in relation to the kidnapping.