FIFA sends 'support and prayers' to Luis Diaz following kidnapping of his parents

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Luis Diaz has returned to Colombia to be with his family members. Credit: PA Images

FIFA has sent its "support and prayers" to Liverpool forward Luis Diaz after both of his parents were kidnapped in Colombia.

It was reported his parents were taken by armed men after being approached by a gang on motorbikes in the municipality of Barrancas.

Since the kidnapping it has been confirmed Diaz’s mother has been rescued and, after the player returned home to be with family members, the Colombian authorities have stepped up their search for his father.

Colombia’s president Gustavo Petro said on X, formerly Twitter, said: “In an operation in Barrancas, Luis Diaz’s mother has been rescued, we continue the search for the father.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also added his support on social media.

In a post on Instagram said: “On behalf of FIFA and the global football community, I would like to extend our support and prayers to Luis Diaz, his family and his friends in these difficult times.”

The Colombia Football Federation (FCF) has also issued a further statement demanding that those holding Diaz’s father release him immediately without conditions.

Posting on X, the FCF said: “We ask the captors of Luis Manuel Díaz, father of @LuisFDiaz19, to release him now, without conditions.

"Football is peace. Lucho, we are with you. Colombia is with you.”

On Sunday, Liverpool beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 at home, in which goalscorer Diogo Jota and his teammates showed their support by holding up a Liverpool jersey with Diaz's number seven on the back.

Liverpool's Jota celebrates scoring by holding up a shirt of team-mate Luis Diaz during the Premier League match at Anfield. Credit: PA Images

After the game, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that the preparation for the game had been “the most difficult" of his career.

Klopp added: “I didn’t expect that, I wasn’t prepared for it.

“I don’t want to make the game bigger than it was, but definitely, we tried to help Luis with the fight we put in because obviously we want to help and we cannot really help.

“So the only thing we can do is fight for him and that’s what the boys did.”

Liverpool secured their fifth straight home Premier League win to move three points behind leaders Tottenham.

But Klopp said: “How can you make a football game really important on a day like this? It’s really difficult. I’ve never struggled with that in my life.

“We heard late last night about it. We spoke to Luis, he wanted to go home…Then we got the news with his mum, which is fantastic, and since then nothing really.

“We are obviously the first people to get involved and we try to have knowledge of everything as much as we can, but we don’t want to disturb in any way the important people there, we just want to support, that’s it.”

On Sunday, Liverpool in a statement said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm it is aware of an ongoing situation involving the family of Luis Diaz in Colombia.

“It is our fervent hope that the matter is resolved safely and at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime, the player’s welfare will continue to be our immediate priority.”

The Director general of Colombia’s National Police gave an update on Monday in which he urged caution over suggestions Luis Manuel could have been taken across the border with Venezuela.

General William Rene Salamanca Ramirez told Colombia media outlet Semana: “I want to be very cautious (on the reports of Luis Manuel being in Venezuela).

“I flew over the area and they would have to cross the Perija mountain range, but I think that a person cannot make it (across) in that area.

“We were trying to leave some commandos there and we couldn’t because of the denseness of the jungle.

“Also since last night, there has been a blockade that the army made in the lower part of the mountains, which would be the exit to Venezuela.”

Liverpool signed Diaz from Porto in January 2022, in an initial £37.5 million deal that included a potential extra £12.5 million in add-ons.

The 26-year-old winger has made 11 appearances this season and scored three goals.

Diaz was an unused substitute for Thursday’s 5-1 Europa League win against Toulouse after starting the Premier League victory over Everton, but was not in the 18-strong squad for Forest’s visit to Anfield.