We’re normally carried away by the joy football brings but there are behind-the-scenes things like kidnapping incidents in Football that people often ignore. When you see the biggest footballers on your TV screens, it’s easy to think that putting up good performances and winning trophies is the only thing they have to worry about. And given the substantial amount of money they earn, you’d probably assume they don’t have real-life issues of their own.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Footballers suffer in real life as well. Surprisingly, they face the same battles as regular people, and sometimes they lose these battles. Moreover, when it’s not them suffering, it’s their family.
Kidnapping incidents in Football
Today, we’ll explore instances where footballers have had to cope with kidnappings. Yes, this includes times when they or their family members have been kidnapped.
1. Luis Diaz
Let’s begin with the most recent incident involving the parents of Luis Diaz. Recently, it was reported that the parents of the Liverpool attacker were kidnapped. The kidnapping allegedly occurred at a petrol station in their home country, Colombia. Shortly after, efforts were initiated to ensure their rescue, and within a brief period, his father was freed.
Regrettably, as of now, his mother remains in their captors’ custody. However, extensive efforts are underway to locate her. Diaz has garnered support from family and friends and received a tribute from his teammate Diogo Jota, who displayed a shirt with his name after scoring against Nottingham Forest. It’s a difficult time for Diaz, and our thoughts and prayers are with him. We earnestly hope for the safe and speedy rescue of his mother.
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2. Mikel Obi
Another relatively recent case of kidnapping in the world of football involved the father of former Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi. While representing Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup, Mikel received a distressing call. Kidnappers revealed they had abducted his father in Nigeria and demanded a ransom equivalent to $28,000.
To exacerbate the situation, they threatened to harm his father if Mikel disclosed the incident to anyone. This call occurred just hours before Nigeria’s crucial group-stage game against Argentina. One can only imagine the mental turmoil he endured, playing the game while keeping this harrowing secret.
Fortunately, a few days later, his father was released. However, Mikel himself disclosed recently that he had to pay a significant sum to secure his father’s release just a few months ago
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3. Carlos Tevez
Another footballer who found himself paying a ransom for the release of his father was Carlos Tevez. In 2014, Tevez’s adopted father, Segundo, was abducted by kidnappers in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They contacted Tevez to demand a ransom.
Interestingly, initially unaware of the victim’s identity as the father of the Argentine footballer, they asked for a lower ransom. Upon discovering who was in their custody, they increased their demands. Although Tevez was determined to ensure the safety of the man who had cared for him when he had no parents, he wasn’t willing to be coerced. Consequently, he negotiated fiercely and paid less to secure his dad’s release.
One of the most intriguing aspects of that case? The kidnappers expressed their admiration for Tevez and claimed to be avid fans of his, even while holding his father hostage. That’s quite an astonishing detail, isn’t it?
4. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff, while playing for Barcelona, his home was invaded by armed individuals. During the attack, he and his entire family were bound and threatened. There was an actual attempt to abduct them, but fortunately, they were rescued before the situation escalated to a full-fledged kidnapping.
Despite their escape, this terrifying event deeply affected Johan Cruyff’s mental well-being. He later disclosed that this incident was the reason he couldn’t participate in the 1978 World Cup finals for the Netherlands.
5. Alfredo Di Stéfano
Alfredo Di Stéfano was indeed kidnapped by a left-wing militant group while on a pre-season tour in Venezuela. The incident unfolded in the following manner:
Early one morning during the tour, a group of men arrived at the team’s hotel, claiming to be from the anti-narcotics police and requesting Di Stéfano’s presence for questioning at their station. Despite being disturbed by the abrupt awakening, he complied, sensing no immediate danger. However, it was only after entering their vehicle that he realized he had been abducted.
Fortunately, the kidnappers had no monetary motives and did not intend to cause harm. Their objective was to use Di Stéfano as a means to communicate a message to the oppressive government. They released him within a short period.
Given Di Stéfano’s stature as one of the most prominent players in the world at that time, his kidnapping served as a method for the perpetrators to attract attention due to the significance of the individual they had taken.
It’s worth noting that these incidents aren’t the sole occurrences of kidnappings within the realm of football. There have been additional cases involving the father of the Milito brothers and even the brother of Juan Riquelme.
Are you aware of any other similar cases? Feel free to share them in the comments section.