Neymar will miss the rest of the World Cup after Brazilian star suffered a broken vertebra during a quarterfinal match on Friday, a massive blow for the team that has reached the semifinals, according to media reports.
Neymar arrived at Rio de Janeiro with the rest of his teammates following the victory over Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday. The 22-year-old striker returned to Brazil’s training camp in the mountainous region of Teresopolis by ambulance, while the team is expected to stay at the camp until Monday. The Brazilian team’s Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar reportedly said Neymar fractured his third vertebra.
“He will not be in condition to play; he will need a few weeks to be fit again,” Lasmar reportedly said. “He is very, very sad.”
Neymar, who is Brazil’s biggest football (i.e., soccer) star and has scored four goals for the team so far, was kneed by Colombia defender Juan Zuniga in the 86th minute of Friday’s match, which ended with 54 fouls in total, including 23 by Colombia.
Before going to the hospital, Neymar “screamed in pain in the dressing room,” the Brazilian confederation said in a statement on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The confederation reportedly added that Neymar would not require surgery, but that his recovery would take about four weeks.
Brazil’s team will play a World Cup semifinal match against Germany on Tuesday. It is unclear whether Neymar will accompany his teammates to Belo Horizonte, the city where the event will be held.
“Every time is like this, players always come after Neymar, the referees need to do more to keep this from happening,” the star’s teammate Hulk reportedly said of Neymar, who has reportedly been targeted by opponents.
According to AP, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said after the match: “Everybody knew that Neymar would be hunted. ... It’s been happening in the last three matches, and we had been talking about it. But nobody listens to us.”