Luis Diaz’s father released by kidnappers

Luis Diaz’s father has been released almost two weeks after he was kidnapped, the Colombian Football Federation has confirmed.

Luis Manuel Diaz was taken along with his wife Cilenis Marulanda 12 days ago, although Diaz’s mother was freed swiftly.

After days of negotiation with guerilla group the National Liberation Army, the Liverpool winger’s father has now been released.

An FCF statement read: “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.

“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.

Luis Diaz celebrates against Luton
Luis Diaz dedicated his goal against Luton to his father (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“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, who scored the equalising goal at Luton on Sunday in his first appearance since his father was taken, was named in the starting line-up for Liverpool’s Europa League tie in Toulouse just minutes of his dad’s release was made public.

“We are delighted by the news of @LuisFDiaz19’s father’s safe return and we thank all those involved in securing his release,” said a club statement.