Meet £60m Liverpool target Luis Diaz – Porto winger dubbed ‘Colombian Ronaldo’

Liverpool are reportedly closing in on a £60m deal for Porto star Luis Diaz – but what exactly do we know about the man nicknamed the 'Colombian Cristiano Ronaldo'?

Well, for one thing, if he manages to live up to that exciting nickname, then the Reds will have bagged themselves a gem of a player at a snip of a price.

Whether that turns out to be the case remains to be seen, but Liverpool fans have plenty of reason to get excited about the winger who could be on his way to Anfield, according to The Sun.

Remarkably, the 24-year-old was making waves in the footballing world before he had even joined a professional club after being called up to represent his country at the Copa America of Indigenous People in mid-2015.

As a member of the Wayuu, the largest indigenous people in Colombia, he could not have been happier after impressing local hero and national legend Carlos Valderrama.

"The competition would be held in Chile so we took a five-hour flight there and you could see his eyes light up with that experience," John 'Pocillo' Diaz, who coached that side, told BBC Sport in November.

"Lucho would ask us if he could have the same meal more than once. He was this humble."

Indeed, Diaz hails from the La Guajira region of Colombia, one of the most neglected areas of the country where 4,770 Wayuu children died from starvation between 2008 and 2016.

When 'Pocillo' Diaz first came across the Liverpool target in 2015, the coach couldn't believe how malnourished he looked.

"For a moment, we thought it would be very difficult for him to perform because Lucho seemed to have malnutrition problems – he was very skinny and lost the duels with other players," he told the BBC.

"But despite that, he managed to stand out among 400 candidates and make the 26-man squad. He initially played as a striker, but had one big issue in his game.

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"He used to run the ball with his head down, so sometimes he didn't even notice that he had reached the end of the pitch. He was very fast and had a very good technique, the ball would stick to his foot like glue."

Colombia lost the Copa America of Indigenous People's final 1-0 to Paraguay, but a star was born as Diaz ended the competition with two goals to his name.

Upon his return to his homeland, the 5ft 10in star signed for Barranquilla FC, a feeder club to Junior FC. Such was his talent, the team had to create a new age group just to accommodate him.

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During his time at Barranquilla, Diaz continued his growth in more ways than one.

Because of his La Guajira background, the winger wasn't quite as built as some of the other boys.

So Barranquilla decided to stick him on a diet plan that saw him bulk up and gain 10kg in weight.

In 2017, he moved up the rungs to Junior, where he would go on to win the Colombian league title the following season.

At around the same time he also made his full international debut, replacing Juan Cuadrado in a 0-0 draw with Argentina in 2018.

Not long after that, Europe came calling.

While Zenit St Petersburg had wanted to sign him, former Porto stars James Rodriquez and Radamel Falco convinced him to join the Portuguese giants instead.

It's fair to say he has not looked back since. In 121 games for Porto, he has scored 39 goals and provided 18 assists.

Last season alone, he managed 11 goals and six assists in all competitions before excelling at the Copa America.

He ended the competition with four goals – making him joint top-scorer alongside a certain Lionel Messi.

So far this campaign, Diaz has hit 12 goals in the Primeira Liga.

And what about that iconic nickname – the 'Colombian Cristiano Ronaldo'?

Well, it appears to emanate from his terrific performance at the Copa America, where Colombia reached the semi-finals before bowing out to Argentina.

But perhaps the most exciting thing for Liverpool fans – or whoever ends up signing this South American talent – is that Diaz is yet to reach his full potential.

At least, that is according to his old coach 'Pocillo.'

"Lucho can shoot from distance, he's comfortable with his two feet, he can dribble, he can open up defences, he can score. What can't he do?" he concluded.

"But, believe it or not, he's yet to reach his ceiling."

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