First words, images & footage of Luis Diaz's father as kidnapping ordeal ends

Luis Diaz's father thanked God for a "second chance" in his first public words following his release.

Luis Manuel Diaz was freed from on Thursday, after being held hostage for 12 days by kidnappers.

Both the Liverpool winger's father and mother were abducted by armed men on motorbikes – later identified as part of rebel group the ELN (National Liberation Army) – in their hometown of Barrancas in Colombia on 28 October.

While Clienis Marulanda was quickly released, the operation to free Diaz Snr became a national concern involving police and military.

Diaz's father's ordeal was finally brought to an end on Thursday as ELN agreed to handover their hostage to United Nations and Catholic Church officials, having previously demanded 'security guarantees' in before a release could take place.

The rescue mission was confirmed shortly around 11:00 am in Colombia.

After landing back at Alfonso Lopez airport in the north of the country, Diaz's father – known as 'Mane' – was reunited with his family.

Speaking publicly following his release, Diaz Snr said: "I want to thank God for this second chance.

"Thank you to all the people of Barrancas, thank you all, I love you very much, I will soon have the opportunity to greet you, thank you very much."

Diaz's father was then carried aloft in a chair by those from the local community who had assembled to greet him after his return.

Meanwhile, a statement from Liverpool FC on Thursday afternoon read: “We are delighted by the news of Luis Diaz's father’s safe return and we thank all those involved in securing his release.”

Prior to the Europa League defeat against Toulouse – which Diaz started – Jurgen Klopp spoke of his number seven's happiness at the resolution of the distressing episode.

“It looks like Lucho [Díaz] is really happy, [giving] thumbs up all the time,” Klopp told TNT Sports.

“It looks very, very good. Timing-wise it couldn’t have been better.”

26-year-old Diaz missed two Liverpool games, but returned to action last weekend with a stoppage-time equaliser against Luton Town, after which he displayed a shirt bearing the message 'freedom for dad'.

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