The father of Liverpool forward Luis Diaz has been rescued after being handed over to a group of United Nations representatives.
Both Diaz’s parents were kidnapped in late October, and while his mother was quickly resuced, his father was held against his will for almost two weeks while the UN and Colombian officials negotiated with the group responsible for the kidnapping, a Colombian rebel group known as the ELN.
It was revealed on Wednesday the ELN would agree to safely return Diaz’s father, Luis Manuel Diaz, and that handover has now taken place.
“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 Luis Manuel Diaz, father of our player Luis Diaz, possible,” a statement from the Colombian FA read.
“Football as a sporting discipline symbolises 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.
“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!”
Diaz has been training with Liverpool throughout the ordeal but has remained away from matchdays, with manager Jurgen Klopp keen to give the Colombian winger as much time as possible to heal mentally before even contemplating a return to competitive action.
Liverpool take on Toulouse in the Europa League on Thursday evening before turning their attention to this weekend’s Premier League clash with Brentford.