Luis Díaz finally got to reunite with his parents Tuesday.
The Liverpool winger flew home to Colombia on Tuesday ahead of the national team’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil later this week. When he arrived in Barranquilla, his parents, Luis Manuel Díaz Sr. and Cilenis Marulanda, were waiting for him — which marked the first time Luis was able to see his parents after they were kidnapped late last month.
📸 ¡𝑩𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒅𝒐 𝒂 𝒄𝒂𝒔𝒂 𝑳𝒖𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒐𝒐!
Así fue el emocionante encuentro de Lucho con su papá Mané Díaz y su familia💛💛💙❤️
¡Te queremos y estamos más unidos que nunca! @LuisFDiaz19 #TodosSomosColombia🇨🇴 pic.twitter.com/mtYBNUsURq
— Selección Colombia (@FCFSeleccionCol) November 14, 2023
Luis Sr. and Marulanda were kidnapped by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) at a gas station near Barrancas, Colombia, in October. Marulanda was rescued later that day after police had set up roadblocks near the town, but Luis Sr. remained missing until he was finally released last week. Special forces offered a $48,000 reward for information about his recovery at one point, too.
The ELN took credit for the kidnapping, but said it had been a mistake. The group then worked with the Colombian government to facilitate his release 12 days later.
The ELN, known locally as Ejército de Liberación Nacional, is classified as a foreign terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. It was founded by communist leaders in 1964, and has thousands of members.
“It was a lot of horseback riding, really hard, a lot of mountains, a lot of rain, too many insects,” Luis Sr. said of his nearly two week ordeal, via BeinSports. “I couldn’t sleep peacefully, it was really difficult, almost 12 days without sleep.”
The younger Díaz joined Liverpool from Porto last year on a deal that reportedly reached $45.7 million. He didn’t play in two matches for Liverpool while his parents were kidnapped, but then he scored a goal in the 95th minute in their 1-1 draw with Luton Town on Nov. 5. During his celebration after that goal, Díaz pulled up his jersey to reveal a shirt that read, “Libertad para papa,” or “Freedom for dad” in English.
He has scored three goals in 11 matches for Liverpool this season.