In a poignant twist of fate, football luminary Luis Díaz has joyously reconnected with his father, Luis Manuel Díaz, following a harrowing episode of abduction.
The Colombian sports icon, currently donning Liverpool’s colors, embraced his father with tears streaming down their faces, marking their initial rendezvous post the 12-day ordeal of captivity.
The abductors, identified as the National Liberation Army (ELN), orchestrated the kidnapping that stirred shockwaves within Colombia and resonated globally. Luis Manuel Díaz, aged 58, and his wife, Cilenis Marulanda, found themselves at the mercy of the ELN, who cited pecuniary motives for their actions. Notably, while the authorities closed in, the captors hastily released Marulanda, escorting her to safety, but detained the amateur football mentor in the mountainous terrain at gunpoint.
In an intriguing turn of events, the ELN leader deemed the abduction of the esteemed coach an inadvertent error, staunchly maintaining that ransom-related kidnappings do not transgress the ceasefire accord inked earlier in the year.
Last Thursday witnessed the release of Luis Manuel Díaz, orchestrated under the auspices of United Nations and Catholic Church representatives. Subsequently, he was reunited with his wife and extended family. However, the heartwarming embrace with his football prodigy son, Luis Díaz, materialized only recently.
Luis Díaz promptly returned to Colombia to participate in the national team’s training sessions, gearing up for a challenging World Cup qualifier against Brazil. During his father’s captivity, the Liverpool striker missed out on two crucial matches, making a comeback in the English Premier League fixture against Luton on November 5. His triumphant goal in stoppage time was accompanied by a symbolic gesture, revealing a T-shirt beneath his Liverpool jersey adorned with the plea “freedom for papa.”