Paris - French police arrested and later released a suspect Wednesday over the unresolved attack against Paris Saint-Germain women's footballer Kheira Hamraoui last year.
The prosecutor's office in Versailles, southwest of Paris, said that a suspect had been taken into custody five months after Hamraoui was dragged from a car and beaten on the legs with an iron bar near the French capital.
A source close to the case said the arrested man was a "friend" of Aminata Diallo, Hamraoui's teammate and midfield rival who was detained by police immediately after the incident last November but has always denied involvement.
Police believe that the arrested suspect, who was described as "known to police", might have played a role in the assault, said the source, asking not to be named because he was not authorised to speak publicly about the case.
The source said the man had been in contact with Diallo "shortly before the events".
The custody of a man born in 1998 was lifted Wednesday afternoon, said the prosecutor.
He had been summoned on Tuesday by the police but failed to appear and was arrested on Wednesday.
Hamraoui was assaulted on November 4 as she returned home from a club dinner in a car being driven by Diallo.
The two players, both capped by France, were competing for the same spot in the PSG team and police appeared to initially focus on a theory that sporting rivalry might explain the attack.
"We are not aware of any friend of Aminata Diallo having been placed in custody," Diallo's lawyer, Mourad Battikh, told AFP.
"Aminata Diallo, more than anyone else, wants the light and the truth to be found in this case."
Diallo and one of her friends, who was in jail at the time, were detained but released without charge in early November last year.
In a statement released after her two days of questioning, she denounced a "totally artificial suggestion of a rivalry" between her and Hamraoui, and she blasted "media speculation which has already condemned her, without justification".
Hamraoui's relationship with several of her teammates has reportedly deteriorated because they blame her for Diallo's arrest.
Hamraoui reportedly told police after the assault that she suspected Diallo might be involved because of the unusual route she took home and the slow speed of their vehicle when the two attackers sprang out to stop the car.
Last Saturday, a new altercation occurred during PSG training between several players and Hamraoui, according to a source close to the club.
Hamraoui was not in the PSG squad for the Champions League semi-final first leg against Lyon on Sunday and will not join club training this week or play in the second leg on Saturday.
Last month, Hamraoui's lawyer, Said Harir, wrote to PSG to denounce "a campaign of harassment and denigration".