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In a team in which figures of the caliber of John William Square, Radamel Falcao Y Juan Fernando Quintero, Colombia today has a star that could outshine all of them in louis diaz. The extreme left, figure of the coffee growers and top scorer (along with Lionel Messi) in the last America Cup, has just sealed a millionaire pass from Porto to Liverpool, in a figure close to $54 million, with another 27 million in variables. It is the culmination of a path to the top of European football that seemed totally unlikely a few years ago.

Díaz was born in La Guajira, in the north of Colombia, and belongs to the ethnic group Wayuu, which inhabits both that area and the north of Venezuela. Passionate about football since he was very young, in 2015 he had the opportunity to play in the American Cup of Indigenous Peoples in Chile with a Colombian team, a tournament in which he shone and even reached the final, but lost to Paraguay. However, present in the audience during that final was none other than Carlos Valderrama, one of the best soccer players in the country’s history, who was impressed with his performance and took him to try out in Junior, club where he is an idol.

Luis Díaz in his time as a player for the Colombian team in the Copa Americana de Pueblos Originarios.
Luis Díaz in his time as a player for the Colombian team in the Copa Americana de Pueblos Originarios.

Upon arriving in Barranquilla, the authorities of the rojiblanco team noticed that the young winger was suffering from malnutrition, so his new club decided prescribe a regimen to increase 10 kilos and transfer it to its subsidiary, Barranquilla FC, where other great Colombian soccer players like Theophilus Gutierrez Y Charles Bacca. However, Díaz did not take long to demonstrate a high level in the second division, so that just two years after his performances in the American Cup He had made his presentation in Junior at the age of 20.

Díaz played just two years in Junior, but in a very short time he became a fundamental player in the team, winning the 2017 Colombia Cup, the 2018 Finalization Tournament and the 2019 Opening Tournament and integrating the ideal eleven of both Colombian soccer and the Copa Sudamericana in 2018. His big step attracted a strong interest from Marcelo Gallardo for adding him to River the following year, but the pass could not be finalized, and six months later the winger arrived in Europe, where he signed with Porto.

Once again, Diaz was quick to stand out both in his new club and now in the Colombian team. In his debut season in Portugal he won a League and Cup double, quickly becoming the best footballer in the Iberian country. His culminating moment was during the 2020/21 season, when his team achieved a historic Champions League campaign, where they eliminated Juventus in the round of 16 against Juventus (then fell to eventual champion Chelsea).

Despite their historic European adventure, Porto had a disappointing local campaign: they lost the league to Sporting, so Diaz entered the last Copa America hungry to show his true potential. And that was precisely what happened: the peasant emerged as one of the most outstanding players in the tournament, with great goals against Brazil and Argentina; was the leader of a Colombian team that reached the semi-final, before falling to the Albiceleste on penalties and taking third place against Peru.

Colombia’s goal for the draw against Argentina 1 to 1

His great performances in Brazil, where he was top scorer along with Messi with four goals, were extended at the beginning of this season to Porto, which currently leads the Primeira Liga with a nine-point lead, and sparked the interest of the Premier League in January. Tottenham was very close to keeping his services, but was finally Liverpool the club that disbursed 54 million dollars to close his arrival. “He was the player we really wanted. It arrives in January because we couldn’t afford to lose it. He has what it takes to adapt physically and mentally. We deserved to add quality. It will improve us now and in the future. I can not be happier”, rejoiced the DT of the Reds, Jürgen Klopp.

After living seven absolutely transformative years, going from a difficult youth to the most competitive league in the world and leaving his mark on all the teams he played for, Luis Díaz now has the opportunity to continue growing as a footballer in one of the most competitive teams. dominant in Europe. With 25 years old just two weeks ago, he has time on his side to become one of the most important players in the history of Colombia. The peaks of footballers like Cuadrado, Falcao and Valderrama no longer seem so difficult to reach.

Luis Dáz at the time of scoring a great scissors goal against Brazil in the 2021 Copa América.
Luis Dáz at the time of scoring a great scissors goal against Brazil in the 2021 Copa América.MAURO PIMENTEL – AFP

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