Liverpool star Luis Diaz's father gives emotional press conference after kidnap ordeal

Liverpool star Luis Diaz's father gives emotional press conference after kidnap ordeal

The father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz has held an emotional first press conference in the aftermath of his release by kidnappers.

Luis Manuel Diaz, 58, was finally reunited with his family on Thursday, almost two weeks after being taken at gunpoint by guerrillas from Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN).

Diaz had been held for 12 days after being kidnapped by armed men in Barrancas in La Guajira province near the Venezuelan border in north-eastern Colombia on October 28, with his wife Cilenis Marulanda also taken as the couple were driving but quickly freed.

Addressing the media for the first time since he was handed over by ELN rebels to officials from the United Nations and Catholic church, Diaz broke down in tears as he recounted his ordeal in a press conference held at his home.

"Even though the treatment was good, I didn't feel very comfortable. A lot of quite difficult horseback riding, lots of mountains, rain. Almost 12 days without sleep," he said.

However, Diaz also insisted that he had no plans to leave his hometown of Barrancas despite everything that had happened.

Luis Manuel Diaz is consoled by wife Cilenis Marulanda during Friday's emotional press conference (AFP via Getty Images)
Luis Manuel Diaz is consoled by wife Cilenis Marulanda during Friday's emotional press conference (AFP via Getty Images)

"My aspirations are to continue in my town because I have my entire family in my town," he said.

"The government has given me impressively strong and great support. I trust and have faith that it will provide me security to be in Barrancas."

Diaz also revealed the supportive message that footballer son and namesake Luis Diaz had given him since his release.

The younger Diaz had shown support for his father after scoring Liverpool's dramatic late equaliser in the Premier League draw at Luton last weekend, lifting his shirt during the stoppage-time celebrations at Kenilworth Road to reveal a message which read 'Libertad Para Papa' - 'Freedom for My Father'.

"To keep going because things don't end here and to have a lot of strength to recover from everything that has happened," he said.

Diaz had also written on Instagram: "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 organisations 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."

Following the release of Diaz's father, Liverpool wrote on social media: "We are delighted by the news of Luis Diaz's father's safe return and we thank all those involved in securing his release."

Additional reporting by Reuters.