Neymar out of World Cup 2014: Juan Camilo Zuniga - 'I did not deliberately try to injure your hero'

Colombia defender insists the broken vertebrae suffered by Neymar was not a result of a deliberate attempt to hurt him

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The Independent Football

The Colombia defender who ended Neymar’s World Cup insisted that he did not deliberately try to injure the Brazilian superstar.

As Fifa announced an investigation into the tackle, Juan Zuniga said: “We wanted to score, and it was a tough game. Brazil was marking strongly. I hope it’s nothing serious, let’s pray to God,”.

“On the pitch I’m defending my shirt, my country, but I didn’t expect him to fracture a vertebrae. He is a great talent for Brazil and for the world.”

Zuniga jumped into Neymar’s back and his knee struck the Brazilian’s third vertebra two minutes from the final whistle, dealing a major blow to the hosts who are seeking a sixth world title.


“It’s a normal action, I tried to shadow him,” Zuniga said. “I was not thinking of hurting him. I was defending my country’s colours. Sadly it happened this way. I hope he gets well, God willing.”

Neymar, who netted four times in the tournament, won’t need surgery but will be out for several weeks, team doctors said.