Neymar has recalled the brutal memory of his injury at the 2014 World Cup, revealing that he could not move his legs after his clash with Juan Zuniga.
During Brazil’s 2-1 win quarter-final win over Colombia, Neymar was tackled from behind by Zuniga, with a knee to his back leaving the PSG superstar with fractured vertebrae.
Then at Barcelona, Neymar was subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the tournament, and missed Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals as a result
Neymar had no idea of the severity of his injury initially, insisting that he wished to continue, and says that it was Real Madrid left-back Marcelo who initially noticed how serious the winger’s injury was.
“When he tackles me, I feel a reaction, but I try to get up. I was in a lot of pain and I remember that I had my head on the ground and Marcelo was saying “no, no, get the doctors in.” I said: “No, no, no, I want to play” because I wanted to score,” he said in an interview with former team-mate Gerard Pique.
“I couldn’t turn and the doctors came in… I couldn’t manage to lift my legs. I couldn’t move my legs and the doctor took me out and I started to cry because it was painful and I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel my legs, so I went to the hospital that’s in the stadium.
“And there they left me and I remember that I was with my leg bent and when I stretched it out… incredible pain. Incredible. Then I understood that there was no way I could continue.”
Neymar has even revealed that the injury was so bad he could have lost the ability to walk completely
He added: “Then I went to the hospital, did the tests, and they told me: ‘I have two pieces of news. One good and one bad. The bad one: you can’t play at the World Cup, it’s over for you.” And I’m like: ‘what’s the good one?’
“‘The good news is that afterwards, you will be able to walk, because two centimetres to the side… football is over for you.’ And, well, there I just wanted them to tell my family. And they were all there, my girlfriend, dad, mom and sister, they tell them that they can see me and, well, then a whole bad week started.
“[I watched the semi-final] at home because when I got injured I went to the team camp where my team-mates were and took my stuff, saw the doctor and so on and then went home by helicopter because I couldn’t move my legs. I was in a wheelchair and I went home, and there I watched it all.”