• World Cup

Neymar thanks God he's still walking

ESPN staff
July 11, 2014
Neymar says he has no bad feelings towards Juan Zuniga © Getty Images

Neymar has claimed the injury which ended his World Cup could have left him in a wheelchair.

The 22-year-old was fractured his spine when Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back during Brazil's 2-1 victory in the quarter-finals but has - just about - accepted an apology from the Colombian.

"God blessed me. If it had been another two centimetres I could be in a wheelchair today," a tearful Neymar said during a press conference.

"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."

The injury ruled Neymar out of the tournament as Brazil went on to lose 7-1 in the semi-finals to Germany but FIFA decided not to punish Zuniga as the incident had been dealt with by the match referee.

Neymar says he does not not hold the incident against Zuniga after the Colombian full-back called the following day to apologise for the foul. "I don't hate him. I don't hold a grudge," Neymar said. "But I don't feel anything."

Germany face Argentina in Sunday's final but, despite the latter being Brazil's biggest rivals, Neymar will be rooting for his Barcelona team-mates.

"I am not supporting Argentina, but my team-mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano," he said. "I support Messi FC and for everything he represents to football I hope he can win."

Neymar distanced himself from comments made by his agent blasting Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari following their semi-final humiliation.

Wagner Ribeiro posted a list of "six requirements to be Brazilian coach", beginning with: "One - being Portugal Coach and winning nothing. Two - going to Chelsea and being sacked the following day.

"Three - going to coach in Uzbekistan. Four - returning to Brazil, taking over a big team [Palmeiras] and getting them relegated to the second division.

"Five - leaving the club 56 days before the end of the Brasileirao [season] to 'escape' the relegation.

"Six - being an old jerk, arrogant, repulsive, conceited and ridiculous."

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