Colombian police continue search for father of Liverpool striker Díaz

Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal holding the jersey of teammate Luis Diaz during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian police continued their search for the father of Liverpool striker Luis Díaz on Sunday, one day after he was kidnapped with his wife near the country's border with Venezuela.

Luis Manuel Díaz and Cilenis Marulanda were kidnapped on Saturday by gunmen in their city of Barrancas, near the Caribbean. Marulanda was rescued at night, but her husband remains with the criminals, police said.

Police director William Salamanca said he told the footballer on the phone he had put all of his efforts to find his father. He also told the Liverpool striker his mother is safe and unharmed.

“We will spare no effort in this situation that has moved all of us Colombians," Salamanca said.

Díaz was released from playing at Anfield on Sunday at Liverpool's 3-0 Premier League victory against Nottingham Forest. Striker Diogo Jota held his teammate’s number seven shirt aloft after opening the scoring.

Coach Jurgen Klopp said he removed Díaz from the squad due to what he called “a worrying situation.”

“It was a pretty tough night,” Klopp said. "It’s a new experience I never needed.”

Liverpool said in a statement it is the club's “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,” it added.

Colombia's police is offering a reward of almost $49,000 for information that leads to the whereabouts of the footballer.

Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco told W Radio on Sunday that the kidnappers took Díaz' father to a mountainous region of Colombia, to which Army troops were sent. Velasco also said he has reached out to Venezuelan authorities to beef up border patrols.


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