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“People here love him” – How Colombia has embraced Luis Diaz’s move to Liverpool

This is Anfield spoke exclusively to Colombian journalist Pipe Sierra, the man who broke the news of Luis Diaz’s switch to Liverpool last month.

It’s not often that Liverpool do business during the January transfer window.

The mid-season market usually doesn’t represent great value for the buyers, as clubs are tasked with improving their squad during a short, month-long window.

But has, at times, proved to be the stage when Liverpool complete some of their most notable deals.

In recent years, you can go back to January 2018 to find when the Reds shattered their transfer record to sign then-Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, just months after the club had their initial attempt rebuffed.

You can stretch further back to the frantic mid-season window in 2011, where the Reds left it late to swoop for Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in place of the departing Fernando Torres.

And now Porto’s Luis Diaz has become the club’s latest high-profile mid-season arrival, as he secured a switch from the Primeira Liga leaders in a deal worth up to £50 million.

Here, Pipe Sierra (@PSierraR), the journalist who broke the story, provided This Anfield with the lowdown on the tricky winger, and how the move has gone down in Colombia.

 

How was the transfer viewed in Colombia?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 6th, 2022: Liverpool's new signing Luis Díaz during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Cardiff City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I have a good story about this. When the offer from Tottenham passed through the Porto headquarters, everybody here in Colombia felt so sad.

“Colombian football fans think Luis Diaz, the quality of Luis Diaz, deserves a better team.

“So when I posted the news that Liverpool were going to make an offer, it was awesome. The reaction of the fans here was so great! People are very happy.

“Here in Colombia, maybe 10 years ago, maybe the perspective would be different.

“But nowadays, everybody knows the quality and knows that Liverpool is one of maybe the three most important teams in every moment.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 10, 2022: Liverpool’s head coach manager Jurgen Klopp (L) hugs Luis Diaz after substituting him off during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parnaby/Propaganda)

“This was great and we are happy, because Luis Diaz, I am absolutely sure, is going to improve his level with an excellent coach like Jurgen Klopp.

“The national team needs a good quality of player and Luis Diaz, nowadays, is the best Colombian player – maybe with Cuadrado.

“With Jurgen Klopp, he’s going to improve every one of his skills.”

 

How did Colombia react to Diaz’s impressive debut against Cardiff?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 6th, 2022: Liverpool's new signing Luis Díaz comes on to make his debut during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Cardiff City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The assist and the minutes he played was awesome. In all the newspapers in Colombia, this is the main story in every place.

“This was great, people are very, very happy, and now, everybody, even people who don’t see football, knows Luis Diaz plays for Liverpool.

“This is great for all the Colombian fans and all Colombians.”

 

How does this deal compare to James Rodriguez’s move to Real Madrid in 2014?

“I think since James Rodriguez moved to Real Madrid, this is the most important signing of a Colombian player, for a great team.

“When you have a top scorer like Rodriguez was in Brazil (the 2014 World Cup), it was awesome and his quality at such a young age made him at a [global] level every Colombian saw.

“But since this, Diaz’s move is the most important.”

 

Can he surpass the level of James Rodriguez?

CARDIFF, WALES - Tuesday, August 12, 2014: Real Madrid's James Rodriguez in action against Sevilla during the UEFA Super Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“In Colombia, we have a lot of good players.

“For example, Rodgriguez; he played a lot of good football for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but his attitude off the pitch complicated his relationship with the fans in Colombia.

“I think James is one of the most unpopular people in Colombia.

“Diaz is loved by the fans of Colombia: he played for one of the most important teams in Atletico Junior.

“People here in Bogota and in the south love the player, everyone started to know him after the Copa America and his bicycle kick against Brazil.

“He is a young player and we know his mentality, he doesn’t care about the fame. He wants to be one of the world’s most important players, like Mohamed Salah.”

 

Does Diaz have the versatility to play other positions?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 10, 2022: Liverpool’s Luis Diaz (R) drinks with team mates during team warm up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

“I don’t remember the last time he played in a different position, but maybe this is important because you need to have versatility.

“For example, [against Cardiff], I don’t know if he had nerves or what, but he played more in the middle. I don’t know if Klopp just said ‘enjoy yourself and play how you want’.

“This was so weird for us because we aren’t used to seeing him on the right or the middle of the pitch, but the best position for him is the left wing.

“Maybe this will be the most important area that he needs to work on, you never know when you may need to reshuffle after being affected by a red card.”

 

Will Diaz’s transfer improve Liverpool’s support in Colombia?

2G6XJ8M Luis Diaz da Colombia, comemora o seu gol durante a partida entre Argentina e Colombia, pela semifinal da Copa America 2021, nesta terca-feira 06. / PRESSINPHOTO

“I think at the moment the most supported teams are Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“This is part two of the signing of Diaz, you can start to see movements in merchandise. Maybe Liverpool is going to do a partnership with a company here in Colombia.

“Everyone knows how important he is; companies need to show this. Soccer is one of the most important markets to show your merchandise, this publicity is important.”


* To listen to the full interview with Pipe Sierra and others like it, head here.

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