Injuries can be exceptionally cruel, as many a leading footballer has discovered, with Liverpool’s Naby Keita perhaps one of the many examples of how a susceptibility to being sidelined can harm one’s career.
Some Reds fans may be well aware of the fact that concerns around January signing, Luis Diaz, with regard to his physical condition, as shared by Carlos Restrepo, which could have prevented him from realising his footballing dreams and, eventually, a well-earned switch to Merseyside.
“Luis was always a boy who listened, had the attitude to train and, incidentally, earned his place, regardless of the diagnoses that were given at the time,” the San Carlos coach told Caracol (via Sport Witness). “In relation to his physical, that he was something that was always doubted for various reasons, but, especially, in the face of international competition.”
Coming from an extremely impoverished region of Colombia, the winger’s coaches feared he was suffering with malnutrition due to his slight frame, as reported by BBC Sport.
Fortunately, things turned out for the best, and the Colombian went on to become one of the Portuguese top-flight’s most feared attackers, with his form this term (amongst the well-documented financial struggles on FC Porto’s part) encouraging an early move from Julian Ward and Co.
“I feel that they carry out a rigorous study to make a determination and the expression of coach Jurgen Klopp with Luis Díaz is that he fits perfectly into the structure he wants,” Restrepo added. “I think that due to the values that ‘Lucho’ has of listening, his desire, he has good attitude and relates well, he will have no problem shining in the Premier League.”
It’s a relief to think that enough faith was shown in the 25-year-old to stick things out and help push him on to the next level and we can only hope that his old coach’s prediction comes true – certainly, he would appear to have all the tools necessary to turn such a wish into reality.
With us often accused of lacking depth beyond what was the traditional front-three of Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, it’s refreshing to see the likes of Diaz and Diogo Jota available to hand Jurgen Klopp quality options to select upon.
Given that both attackers are 25 years of age too, it helps allays some fears over the future of the forward line.