Authorities have arrested 29-year-old Osvaldo Velazquez Garcia. He's the husband of Pulido's cousin, Tamaulipas state Attorney General Ismael Quintanilla told reporters.
Velazquez, according to the prosecutor, alerted the suspected kidnappers the moment Pulido left a party Saturday night in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. He also allegedly gave them a description of Pulido's vehicle.
"We investigated (Velazquez's) alleged involvement in a criminal group with operations in the region, related to the transfer and sale of drugs, the commission of other kidnappings and the extortion of merchants of the town of Ciudad Victoria," Quintanilla said.
Pulido, a Mexican national and striker for Greece's Olympiacos club, was rescued late Sunday, a day after he was taken hostage.
Prosecutor: Suspect fired at officers
Velazquez fought back as authorities closed in Tuesday, pulling out a gun and firing at officers, Quintanilla said.
Police weren't injured in the shootout that followed, Quintanilla said.
Velazquez was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Pulido thanks fans
Pulido, 25, has also played in the past for Mexico's national team, most significantly during the 2014 World Cup campaign.
He hails from Ciudad Victoria, one of Mexico's most brutal cartel battlegrounds.
Hundreds of kidnappings were reported in the border state last year, although activists say the true tally of missing people is likely under-reported and actually much higher.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account Monday, Pulido thanked fans for their support.
"Thank you very much to everyone for your prayers," he said. "You really helped us in this terrible experience in our lives that we do not wish on anybody."