The father of Liverpool winger Luis Diaz has revealed how he went nearly 12 days without sleep while in the hands of kidnappers.
Luis Manuel Diaz, alongside his wife Cilenis Marulanda, was kidnapped late in October, but while Marulanda was rescued after a few hours, the elder Diaz remained in captivity for close to two weeks before being rescued by United Nations officials.
Now, speaking publicly for the first time since his return home, Diaz’s father has opened up on the ordeal.
“The first two or three days, I suffered due to food issues,” he said. “Then I felt a change three days later when it seemed that I was already in the hands of the ELN and they were already talking to me and treating me differently.
“Almost 12 days without sleep, even though the treatment was good, but because I didn’t feel comfortable. I missed my family, my children, my father, my sisters, the town, my friends, my students, everyone.
“The walking was hard. I didn’t know where I was. I walked a lot, I rested little. I saw a mountain that I had never seen before. Now, I don’t want anyone to go through those mountains in the situation I was in, so that if one day we go through their again, it will be holding hands with a sign that says ‘peace and freedom’.”
Speaking shortly before Diaz’s father was released, Klopp praised his Liverpool squad for supporting the Colombia international.
“I don’t know how to describe it, it’s difficult in a different way,” Klopp said. “I always know that there are more important things than football, I never forget that. It’s just that during the games, from time to time, you forget that but around that it is always clear. The priority is always clear.
“And so I’ve never had a situation like that. We’ve had different situations in life and family members who get ill or stuff like this. Over the years we have that from time to time and you don’t want that but you have to deal with it or even grandparents or passing die, you have that as well.
“But this [was] a situation which ends in a specific moment and then we have to deal with it but this is different because it is ongoing and you never know. You want to help but you can’t help and that makes it really special.
“You are always afraid for his dad in this case and he is a friend of ours and that is the difference. But the only way I understand is that Lucho has to make the decision, Lucho has to tell me: ‘I want to train, I will do that’. I have never done that before for such a long time, at least, so it’s new but that is why we dealt with it like we did.
“I understand that we talk about it and that we worry but what else could it mean? It’s really not important. This group was very together before and at the moment it is just good that we are that [close] together and everyone is really caring.
“Lucho knows that and there’s nothing else that I want to take out of it. I said in the first game that we had to fight for him but it was not that I wanted any extra fire, I just needed to find a way to get focused on the next game because that was super difficult the first game we played without him. It didn’t feel right that we play football at all at this moment, it didn’t feel right, but we had to do it, so we did it and the boys found a way.”