Luis Diaz’s father Luis Manuel Diaz is pictured for the first time following his release by ELN as 12-day ordeal comes to an end
- Luis Manuel Diaz was kidnapped 12 days ago while buying watermelons
- Luis Diaz had called for his father’s release after he scored the equaliser against Luton
- Diaz Sr was finally released days after it was suggested he would be by the National Liberation Army
Luis Diaz’s father Luis Manuel Diaz has been pictured for the first time following his kidnapping 12 days ago.
Luis Manuel Diaz was released into the hands of a ‘Humanitarian Commission’ made up of the Catholic Church & the UN’ on Thursday afternoon.
The images first released by the local media show Diaz Sr sporting a cap while holding a drink and waving an arm in the air.
Further pictures show Diaz Sr sat on the side of a hill while he undergoes medical checks to ensure his health.
The 58-year-old was initially taken along with his wife around two weeks ago when they stopped for watermelons at a petrol station.
Luis Manuel Diaz was seen waving his arm in the air as he was met by a ‘Humanitarian Commission’
Luis Manuel Diaz (centre) was released following a 12-day ordeal after he was kidnapped by the National Liberation Army
Luis Manuel Diaz was also pictured undergoing medical checks
Colombia’s anti-government left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN), a left-wing guerrilla group, were subsequently found to be responsible.
Diaz’s mother was rescued hours later but, amid significant anguish, his father remained missing.
‘The Colombian Football Federation thanks the National Government, the Military Forces and the National Police, as well as all the institutions and officials that made the release of Luís Manuel Díaz, father of our player Luís Díaz, possible,’ a statement from the Colombia FA read.
‘Football as a sporting discipline symbolizes talent, dedication, teamwork and the intrinsic values of human beings. In Colombia it must continue to be a benchmark for entertainment, healthy competition, unity and joy.
‘Therefore, we insist on the need to maintain this activity, as well as those who are involved in it, in the sporting and administrative part and their families, outside of any scenario other than sports.’
The statement continued: ‘Behind a ball, the dreams and illusions of boys and girls, young people, women, men and adult soccer players, their loved ones and an entire country roll.
‘Football is passion in peace. Let no one ever think of attacking that reality again!’
Luis Diaz had been pictured back in training for the Reds ahead of the clash with Luton, but there was uncertainty over whether he would make an appearance during their 1-1 draw on Sunday amid the ongoing situation.
Instead, Diaz was included in the squad and came off the bench to score a 95th minute equaliser, to help Klopp’s side secure a draw.
After scoring, the Colombian forward issued an emotional plea asking for the release of his father.
Luis Diaz lifted his shirt to reveal the message ‘freedom for papa’ written in Spanish
Luis Manuel Diaz was initially kidnapped along with his wife while out shopping for watermelons
His wife was then released shortly there after but Diaz Sr was kept by the ELN
Videos following his release have captured Diaz Sr alongside the ‘Humanitarian Commission’
He revealed a T-shirt underneath his Liverpool jersey that had the message ‘freedom for papa’ written in Spanish on it.
His manager and Luton captain Tom Lockyer both embraced the forward at full time, before Diaz issued a statement on social media on the same evening.
He wrote: ‘This is not Luis Diaz the player speaking. Today I am the son of Luis Manuel Diaz. My dad hard-working family man.
‘I ask the ELN for the prompt release of my father, and I ask international organisations to work together for his freedom.
‘Every second, every minute, our anguish grows. My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, distressed and without words to describe what we are feeling. This suffering will only end when we have him back home.
‘I beg you to release him immediately, respecting his integrity and ending this painful wait as soon as possible.
‘In the name of love and compassion, we ask that you reconsider your actions and allow us to recover him.
‘I thank Colombians and the international community for the support received, thank you for so many demonstrations of affection and solidarity in this difficult time that many families in my country find themselves living.’
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