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"I Didn't Feel Anything" - Neymar Discusses Zúñiga Tackle In 2014 World Cup

Arthur James O'Dea
By Arthur James O'Dea
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For the uninitiated, The Player's Tribune can throw up some spectacularly odd and wonderful stuff. Released today, an interview with Neymar Jr.

The interviewer? Barcelona and Spain's Gerard Pique, of course.

Although the terms of the discussion were laid out quite early into the conversation ("we are not going to talk about either Paris or Barcelona"), this unusual interview did outlay just how close Neymar came to finishing his professional career at the age of 22.

Brazil's leading light at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil itself, memories of that incredible tournament are, understandably, not largely positive for the Paris St. Germain player.


Absent for the semi-final mauling that Brazil suffered at the hands of eventual winners Germany, Neymar details the horrific results of a tackle by Colombia's Juan Camilo Zúñiga in the quarter-final.

Having thrown himself into Neymar from the back, the Brazilian's immediate response was not one of overarching concern:

I remember that I had my head on the ground, and Marcelo was saying, "No, no ... get the doctors in." And I said, "No, no, no. I want to play." Because I wanted to score.

With Brazil's place in the semi-final all but assured already, that the tackle took place with only minutes to go hardly made what happened next any easier for the young Neymar:

[I wanted to continue], but I couldn't manage to lift my legs. I couldn't move my legs. And the doctor took me out and I started to ... to cry. Because it was very painful and I didn't feel anything.

Taken straight to hospital to assess the damage that been inflicted upon his back, Neymar was given some good and bad news, the extent of which is harrowing in hindsight:


Then I went to the hospital, did the tests and all, and they told me, “I have two pieces of news. One good and one bad.” And I was like, “The bad one first.” “The bad one: You can’t play the World Cup. It’s over for you.”

And I’m like, “What’s the good one?”

“The good one is that afterward you will be able to walk, because two centimeters to the side and football is over for you.”

A potentially disastrous conclusion to a completely pointless challenge, Neymar's focus is needless to say on the summer of 2018 and some vindication for a Brazil side that are unquestionably still hurting from the spurned opportunity of home success in 2014.

See Also: "Deal With It" - Arsene Wenger Puzzled By Jose Mourinho's Latest Complaint


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