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Liverpool forward Luis Diaz’s parents kidnapped by gunmen in Colombia

Diaz’s mother was rescued but his father remains missing, local authorities have said

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 29 October 2023 08:51 GMT
Luis Diaz stepping up training ahead of Liverpool return

The parents of Liverpool forward Luis Diaz were kidnapped in Colombia after being stopped by gunmen on motorbikes.

Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued but his father remains missing, Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, said. The pair were reportedly kidnapped as they drove to their home. The gunmen stopped them and drove them away in the vehicle, authorities said.

Ms Marulanda was rescued by police in the city of Barrancas, Mr Petro said. She has since spoken with police director William Rene Salamanca, who said he “is using every available agent” to find Mr Diaz’s father.

President Petro gave a news conference on Sunday in which he said the government and police were maintaining contact with Mr Diaz, while the military were also engaged in the operation to recover his father.

The Colombian attorney general's office said in a statement: “From the moment when Colombia's general prosecutor's office learned of the kidnapping of the parents of Colombian player Luis Diaz in the Barrancas area of La Guajira, a specialist team of prosecutors, CTI [technical investigation team] officials and investigators from the police and military have been taking urgent action to locate these individuals, clarify the chain of events and identify the culprits.”

Liverpool confirmed they were aware of an “ongoing situation involving the family of Luis Diaz” and said the 26-year-old’s “welfare will continue to be our immediate priority”.

Mr Diaz was subsequently left out of the Liverpool squad to play Nottingham Forest on Sunday. “We had to obviously make a late change because of the private situation involving Luis Diaz,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said ahead of the game at Anfield. “It’s a worrying situation for all of us and it was a pretty tough night. I have never had that before, it’s a new experience I never needed.”

Liverpool's players then showed their support for Diaz during a 3-0 win, holding up their teammate's shirt after taking the lead.

Klopp said after the game: “We got the news last night and it's the most difficult I’ve ever had.

“When you’re that long in the business, you think you have experienced everything, but it’s not about us. It’s all about Lucho and his family. We all hope and pray everything will be fine. It was a shock to the system. I didn’t know what to talk about in the team meeting.”

Meanwhile, Colombia’s football federation released a statement urging the authorities to find and rescue Mr Diaz’s father. “The Colombian Football Federation rejects the security situation that the parents of our player Luis Diaz are going through,” it said. “From the FCF we express our solidarity with him and his entire family and we call for the relevant authorities to act as quickly as possible to resolve the situation.”

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