Colombian football star Luis Díaz has joyfully reunited with his father, Luis Manuel Díaz, who was recently released by rebels after being held hostage for 12 days. The emotional reunion took place as the Liverpool striker and his father shared tears while embracing for the first time since the kidnapping incident.
Luis Manuel Díaz’s abduction by the National Liberation Army (ELN) sparked outrage both in Colombia and internationally. The ELN had initially kidnapped both Luis Manuel and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, for ransom. However, the group released Marulanda quickly as the authorities closed in but took the amateur football coach into the nearby mountains at gunpoint.
The leader of the ELN later described the abduction of the popular coach as a “mistake” but maintained that kidnappings for ransom do not violate the ceasefire agreement signed earlier in the year.
Last Thursday, the guerrilla group released Luis Manuel Díaz to United Nations and Catholic Church officials. He was subsequently reunited with his wife and other family members. However, the heartfelt embrace with his footballer son, Luis Díaz, occurred only recently.
In light of these events, Luis Díaz has flown to Colombia to join the national team for training ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Brazil on Thursday evening. The player had missed two of Liverpool’s matches during his father’s captivity but made a notable appearance, scoring a goal in stoppage time, during the English Premier League game against Luton on November 5. In a poignant moment, he revealed a T-shirt underneath his Liverpool jersey with the message “freedom for papa.”
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