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

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The Independent Football

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."