The parents of Liverpool FC footballer Luis Diaz have been flown to Merseyside by the club so they can spend Christmas with their son after their recent kidnap.
Cilenis Marulanda was freed almost immediately after being taken by guerrilla group the National Liberation Army, but his father was held captive for 12 days until being released on 9 November.
Diaz was reunited with his parents when he returned to Colombia for international duty, and the pair were in the crowd to see their son score both goals in an emotional 2-1 victory at home to Brazil on Thursday.
It is understood that following the game Liverpool paid for a private jet, for security reasons and to help manage the family’s trauma, to bring Diaz’s parents and wider family to Merseyside so they could spend an extended period of time together.
Their plane landed at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport early on Saturday, 18 November, morning.
Since Diaz’s parents were kidnapped, the club have provided support, with manager Jurgen Klopp allowing Diaz compassionate leave, and leaving decisions about when he trained and was available for selection entirely up to the player, in keeping with the family values they believe are vital to the club’s ethos.
Diaz will rejoin his family in Liverpool when he returns from international duty after their match in Paraguay on Tuesday, 21 November.
He will be on a flight with the club’s other South American players Alisson Becker, who was beaten twice by his club-mate in their game in Barranquilla in the far north of Colombia, Alexis Mac Allister and Darwin Nunez – who faced each other in Argentina’s 2-1 defeat by Uruguay – in a plane jointly chartered by a number of Premier League clubs to return their players home as expediently as possible.
Liverpool head to Manchester City in a top-of-the-table clash at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 25 November.