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Teary Luis Diaz Struggles to Hide Emotions in Tribute to Liverpool Teammate

Teary Luis Diaz Struggles to Hide Emotions in Tribute to Liverpool Teammate

Liverpool’s Luis Diaz was overcome with emotion as he paid tribute to the efforts of Colombia captain James Rodriguez after another spirited display from the star as they reached the final of Copa America.

During a tense affair in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eventual victors saw out a 1-0 victory against Uruguay with Jefferson Lerma’s strike enough to separate the two sides. Despite being reduced to ten men after Daniel Munoz was dismissed on the stroke of half-time, the Colombians demonstrated their resilience to prevail.

After securing passage to the showpiece in Miami, the jubilation of the confirmed finalists was palpable with Rafael Santos Borre, Juan Fernando Quintero, and Reds fan favorite Diaz embracing talisman Rodriguez at full-time. Basking in their success, the players huddled together as realization set in that they had booked their place to face Argentina at Hard Rock Stadium.

Following a tasking game in which he played for 86 minutes, the Liverpool attacker was eager to praise his skipper for his efforts in helping the country to reach the final. The former Real Madrid and Everton star Rodriguez has rolled back the years during the tournament, leading the charge for Colombia with several virtuoso displays.

After the skipper provided another man-of-the-match display in the last four, Diaz said in his post-match interview: “I told him, I’ve always let James know, since I got to the National Team, I let him know that he’s always been my idol, him, and [Radamel] Falcao, and [Juan] Cuadrado whom I watched play on TV, being able to share with them fills me with pride.

The 32-year-old attacking midfielder, who now plies his trade with Brazilian giants Sao Paulo, has scored once and provided six assists during this summer’s competition. These performances have made a lasting impression on Diaz, who continued: “I always tell him (James), ‘you are great, I admire you so much, you deserve it.”

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“He deserves it, this is his Cup, no doubt. We’re seeing him at his best. We know what he’s gone through, what he’s suffered. Football is a sport of moments. Football gave him revenge, and he’s showing he has a lot of class, a lot of ability…to give an assist, to play football how it’s supposed to be played, so he deserves it, he really deserves it.”

The game itself was marred by an ugly brawl which ensued involving supporters in the crowd at Bank of America Stadium after the final whistle blew. Liverpool forward Darwin Nunez entered the crowd, along with teammates Ronald Araujo, Matias Vina and Mathias Olivera as a fracas took place.

South American football’s governing body, CONMEBOL have issued a statement on the events following the game which read: “CONMEBOL strongly condemns any act of violence that affects football. Our work is based on the conviction that football connects us and unites us, through its positive values.

“There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field. We invite everyone in the remaining days to pour all their passion into cheering on their teams and having an unforgettable party.”

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