LUTON, England (AP) — Luis Diaz returned to Liverpool’s team and scored a late equalizer in its Premier League soccer match against Luton on Sunday, with his father still missing after being kidnapped by a guerrilla group in Colombia.
Diaz had missed Liverpool’s last two games but trained since Thursday and was selected on the bench for the match at Kenilworth Road. He entered the game in the 83rd and scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to secure a 1-1 draw for his team.
He revealed a T-shirt with the words “Libertad Para Papa” ("Freedom For Papa") after the goal.
Diaz followed that up with a post on Instagram later Sunday.
It read: “Today the footballer is not speaking to you. Today Lucho Diaz, the son of Luis Manuel Diaz, is speaking to you. Mane, my dad, is a tireless worker, a pillar in the family and he has been kidnapped. I ask the ELN for the prompt release of my father, and I ask international organizations to work together for his freedom.
“Every second, every minute, our anguish grows. My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, distressed and without words to describe what we are feeling. This suffering will only end when we have him back home. I beg you to release him immediately, respecting his integrity and ending this painful wait as soon as possible."
Both of Diaz’s parents were kidnapped in the small Colombian town of Barrancas last weekend, though his mother was rescued within hours by police. Colombia’s government said Thursday that the guerrilla group National Liberation Army, known as ELN, was responsible for the kidnapping.
“At the training ground he was fine, on the pitch he was fine, so that’s why he is here,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had said about his player ahead of the game.
“All the signs he gets, as far as I understand, are very positive,” Klopp said about the situation regarding Diaz’s father. “Negotiations are ongoing but still positive and that’s why (Diaz) wanted to be part of the team.”
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer