Luis Diaz’s dream of becoming a football star was in danger of falling apart at the first hurdle.
The frail 18-year-old has tried but failed to attract the attention of senior scouts, his ravishing dribbling skills looking unlikely to be discovered in his native Colombia a short distance from his new home. his one million miles as one of Jurgen Klopp’s stars. names in Liverpool.
However, this skinny boy was too good to slip through the net and he found his own way to the top.
A traditional path has long been mapped out for miracle kids in South America, with European clubs vying for their services and placing them in a lavishly sponsored Academy organization. , paved the way for a professional career.
This is not the path Diaz will follow, as his fragile frame leads most seasoned observers to conclude that he will lack the physical requirements to make a mark at a elite club.
In many ways, Diaz’s story echoes that of a young Lionel Messi, whose physical impairment as a young player in Argentina threatened to put an end to his ambitions.
However, talent always finds a way to reach the top and that has been proven with Diaz, who was not even attached to a professional club at the age of 18 and was only noticed due to a inevitable chain of luck.
Diaz hails from La Guajira in Colombia, a deprived area that hasn’t had any kind of significant government funding since its coal mining industry declined.
It’s not a traditional hotspot for football heroes to appear, but Diaz made headlines during a trial with more than 3,000 children organized by club Atletico Junior in 2015.
That proved to be his breakthrough moment, as scout Juan Carlos Cantillo encouraged the club to sign Diaz and try to build him into a player who could reach his full potential. he.
Then came a second decisive moment, when he caught the eye of the squad selection committee for the Indigenous’s first Copa America in Chile in July 2015, where he worked under the coach. Coach Carlos Valderrama.
You’ll remember Valderrama as the curly-haired superstar who made headlines at the 1994 World Cup in the US, with his star quality showing in every shade.
On the contrary, Diaz lacks confidence and needs help realizing his potential and Valderrama ensures his talent will no longer be a secret when comparing him to Messi.
An endorsement from a big-name star is often crucial in boosting young players’ careers once Valderrama became Diaz’s popular cheerleader, his rise to prominence was unstoppable.
With much of the strength and conditioning work needed to develop a young player who tends to be brought in during their late teens, the coaches at Diaz Atlético Junior’s first senior club have doubts over whether they can build him into a first-team star.
However, Diaz’s talent and desire to reach the top are quick to dismiss those questions, with his breakout season coming up in 2018, with Porto’s network of contacts in South America. make sure they win the race for his signature in 2019.
By then, Diaz is ready for the big time and he’s hit the ground running in Portugal, with his form in the first half of this season cementing his status as one of the talents. the brightest in the European arena.
Liverpool considered a move for Diaz last year and he is a top transfer target in the upcoming summer transfer window, but the Anfield club had to move that time forward as Tottenham closed the deal. 25-year-old player in January.
While Klopp tends to give players time to settle in with his team at Liverpool, Diaz made an immediate impact in one of European football’s most powerful strikers and earned the honors. First sign with the club after a stellar performance in last month’s EFL Cup final against Chelsea.
“What he’s done in the first few weeks here is amazing, to be honest, I don’t see many players coming in and doing this in the first place,” Klopp said of Diaz, who has spent 37 on Liverpool. initial £million to sign from Porto.
“He looked at home already. That’s exactly the impression he made in training and then he played and ‘wow’.
“When we saw him playing for Porto, we thought that’s exactly what we wanted him to do. Above all, he looked like a really smart footballer and obviously watched on. Liverpool a lot. What we didn’t expect was that he had this much impact so quickly.
“Going to England, going to the Premier League is not easy, but Luis seems like he’s always been here. It’s amazing, it really is.”
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are the first names on Klopp’s list as they lift the Champions League and Premier League titles, but Diaz and Diogo Jota have ensured that a succession plan is in place. when those three legends are gone.
It will be difficult for Salah, Mane or Firmino to rest for a game or two in the big games until his latest signings add much needed depth to his forward line, giving him option to start without his star trio for matches like Tuesday’s Champions League match against Inter Milan at Anfield.
With Liverpool leading 2-0 from the first leg at the San Siro, it was a game that seemed to be all before a night at Anfield and now the focus is on the next phase of Klopp’s quest to try and achieve the impossible – win four titles this season.
Even dreaming of such a feat is a tribute to Klopp’s brilliance while Liverpool have been linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappé for the past few years, it’s not the kind of satisfaction The deal that the Anfield club has enough money to consider.
Instead, Klopp and his transfer committee had to identify cheap gems waiting to sparkle and in Diaz they appear to have unearthed another sparkling diamond.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/from-la-guajira-to-the-bright-lights-of-anfield-the-making-of-liverpools-latest-sensation-luis-diaz-41424085.html From La Guajira to the bright lights of Anfield – Making the latest Liverpool sensation Luis Diaz