Thursday July 10 2014
Neymar: 'I was 2cm from a wheelchair'

Neymar cried during his Press conference, revealing “if I’d been struck 2cm lower, I’d be in a wheelchair.”

The Brazil striker made an emotional return to the Press room after a knee in the back from Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga left him with a fractured vertebra, ending his World Cup.

“I am so elated to see my teammates again. Of course the situation is bad, but just having the opportunity to walk in here makes me happy,” said Neymar following a 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.

“As I said to them: ‘We started together and we finish together.’ It was an historic defeat, but that doesn’t mean we have to walk with our heads bowed. That’s sport. I hope we can smile again as soon as possible.

“I don’t know what happened against Germany, it was a blackout. It’s easy to talk after the game, but hard when you’re out there on the pitch.

“I am not ashamed to say I was part of the team that lost 7-1. I’m proud to say that I played with Thiago Silva, Fred and the others.”

Neymar felt even worse being far away from his teammates, knowing he could’ve helped prevent a record-breaking loss.

“It’s one of the worst weeks of my life. I couldn’t have imagined a worse one. I will learn from it. God knows all and if he allowed this to happen, there must be a reason for it.

“I do not accept Zuniga saying it was a normal challenge. Everyone in football knows that is not normal. The way he came in from behind, I couldn’t defend myself against it.

“God has blessed me. If it was 2cm lower, I’d be in a wheelchair right now. Zuniga called me the next day and apologised. I feel no resentment and wish him all the best for his career.”

Despite the huge rivalry between Brazil and Argentina, Neymar said he’d be supporting the South Americans against Germany in Sunday’s World Cup Final.

“I wish both teams luck. Having conquered everything, Leo Messi deserves that title. As he is a friend and a teammate at Barcelona, I will root for him and Javier Mascherano.”

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