Liverpool’s Luis Diaz, Father reunite Tearfully after 12-Day Kidnapping Misery

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After being set free last week following a 12-day hostage nightmare at the hands of Colombia’s ELN guerrilla group, Liverpool forward Luis Diaz and his father had a heartfelt reunion on Tuesday.

The encounter with his father, Luis Manuel Diaz, took place in the seaside city of Barranquilla, Colombia, on Thursday before Diaz returned home to join the national squad in anticipation of a World Cup qualification match against Brazil.

Pictures released by the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) show the father and son embracing while in tears.

Luis Manuel Diaz, 56, was decked up in a black T-shirt that said: “No more kidnapping.”

“After 12 days deprived of freedom, this is the first contact of the player with his father and the rest of the family, who lived long moments of anguish,” wrote the FCF website.

On October 28, armed men riding motorbikes kidnapped Luis Manuel Diaz and his wife Cilenis Marulanda at a petrol station in Barrancas, their hometown close to the Venezuelan border.

However, hours after Marulanda was rescued, leaving her husband as the target of a huge search and rescue operation.

The kidnapping by one of the ELN’s battalions was referred to as a “mistake” by the group, which is involved in peace talks with the government and a six-month truce that went into effect in August.

In a rugged border region, the rebels turned Diaz over to aid workers last Thursday, following days of heated negotiations.

At his Barrancas house the next day, he told reporters about how his kidnappers forced him to walk “too much” while getting very little sleep.

According to authorities, four suspects in the crime have been taken into custody as of Saturday.

The sole football academy in Barrancas was founded by Luis Manuel Diaz, who also serves as its amateur coach. From an early age, his son displayed promise at the academy.

Diaz Sr. is recognised for having contributed to his son’s incredible ascent. His son has represented his nation 43 times and is the first Indigenous Colombian to reach the highest levels of international football.

According to acquaintances who spoke with AFP, he occasionally sold food that he prepared himself in order to finance his son’s travels to Barranquilla, where he made his stage debut.

Following his time at Porto, the youthful winger known as “Lucho” is currently a member of Liverpool.

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