World Cup 2014: Tearful Neymar claims he could have been left in a wheelchair after challenge
No 10 claims he might have been 'paralysed' had he been struck two inches lower
Friday 11 July 2014
An emotional Neymar has claimed the challenge that meant he missed the World Cup semi-final might have left him paralysed.
The Brazil star fractured a vertebra after being kneed in the back by Colombia defender Juan Zuniga during Brazil's 2-1 quarter-final win.
In a press conference, the 22-year-old broke down in tears when answering questions that ended his involvement in the tournament.
"I thank God for helping me, because if that blow had been a few inches lower I would have risked being paralysed," he said.
Without their star man, Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in Belo Horizonte.
Zuniga called Neymar to apologise for the injury, but the Barcelona man did not fully forgive the Colombian defender.
"I don't hate him, I don't hold a grudge, but I don't feel anything," added Neymar. "It's difficult to talk about a move that ended happening in such an important moment of my career.
"I won't say he came to injure me - I don't know what was going on in his head - but everyone who understands football can see that it wasn't a normal challenge." Neymar missed the semi-final humiliation against Germany
Despite the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina, Neymar said he hoped Argentina won the World Cup, because club team-mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano play for La Albiceleste.
"He's won almost everything and I think he deserves to be champion," he said about Messi. "He is my team-mate and my friend."
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