Neymar injury leaves Brazil sad, infuriated

Injured Brazilian national soccer team player Neymar waits to be airlifted home from Brazil's...

Injured Brazilian national soccer team player Neymar waits to be airlifted home from Brazil's training camp in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janeiro, July 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer/Brazil)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:09 PM ET

BRASILIA - Brazil’s party didn’t just get rained on, it got washed away in a deluge of biblical proportions.

The country’s soccer team had defeated Colombia, one of its main rivals and a team many believed could eliminate the World Cup hosts.

During the game, however, there was a little incident where Brazil’s Neymar, one of the best players in the world, was carried off in a stretcher. But soccer players have been known to leave the pitch on stretchers before and be dancing the samba 10 minutes later. Neymar couldn’t have been hurt too badly or the stretcher bearers wouldn’t have handled him like a side of beef, bouncing him all the way to the dressing room, right?

So Brazil began the party.

It lasted all of a half an hour before the news began to filter out that Neymar had suffered a broken vertebrae and would play no more in this World Cup.

Talk turned from the win to the tragedy.

“Filho de $%#$%,” said taxi cab driver Mauricio Lourenco talking about it.

What was said is not a very complimentary term and he wasn’t referring to Neymar. He was talking about Colombia’s Juan Zuniga, whose knee apparently did the damage to Neymar’s back.

In newspapers throughout the country the game was second-page news while pictures of Neymar being carried off dominated front pages.

It doesn’t matter that the play by Zuniga wasn’t malicious or particularly hard.

“Cowardice deprives the World Cup of Neymar,” read the headline in the Rio newspaper Extra.

Hora included the image of Zuniga, with the words “Foi ele!” – “It was him!”

There is great eloquence in the emotions of sadness and despair, and South American newspapers delivered their messages with the goal of not only relating to readers but infuriating them as well.

“The pain that stopped our joy,” was the headline in the Correio Braziliense. “Clattered by the knee of Colombian right-back Juan Zuniga, the best Brazilian attacker is out of the World Cup. A wave of sadness has invaded the country. For the first time under (coach Luiz Felipe Scolari) the team will play without its star in the No. 10 shirt against the strongest team in this tournament: Germany. In 1962 Brazil was deprived of Pele’s genius also through injury but won the title. It is time to repeat the feat.”

Not only was Zuniga a target but Spanish referee Carlos Velasco was also in the crosshairs of both Brazillian and Colombian fans.

Velasco picked a bad time to have a horrible game. There was some suggestion Zuniga’s foul was retaliation for the stomping Brazil did during the game on Colombia’s forwards.

Velasco hesitated pulling out his yellow card until the 64th minute after more than 40 fouls had been committed, some of them egregious. There were 54 fouls called total during the match.

There was no yellow given to Zuniga.

The Colombian press went after Velasco with a vengeance.

Diario del Magdalena a newspaper in Colombia, had this headline on their front page.

“Arbitro Espanol: hijo de la gran puta madre que te pario”

The translation: “Spanish referee, son of a great whore, the mother who bore you.”

It followed up with the following statement, “The decision to disallow a legitimate goal, scored by Mario Yepes, and to give countless fouls against Colombia decided the match for the Brazilians.”

There was a vigil outside the hospital where Neymar spent the night. He left Saturday for Sao Paulo with television cameras and photographers following him.

If the goal of the press was to infuriate Brazilians even more so they’d really support the team, it was achieved.

And it won’t stop until Brazil takes to the pitch again against Germany.

After all, the party already got rained out, might as well keep reminding people why.

NEYMAR ADDRESSES FANS

Brazil’s biggest newsmaker spoke to his adoring throng Saturday.

Brazilian forward Neymar suffered a fractured vertebrae in a game Friday and will no longer compete in the World Cup. The news has settled like a black cloud over Brazil.

The 22-year-old is one of Brazil’s most high profile individuals and he spoke for the first time to the nation through the Brazilian team’s official YouTube account.

He was emotional as he spoke in Portuguese stating he was still somewhat in shock over what happened and thanking everyone for their support.

Of course, he predicted his team would go on without him and win the World Cup.

Below is a translated version of what he said.

“Brazilian people, players, coaches and fans; this is a very tough moment. It's hard to express my thoughts in words. I want to tell you that I'll be back to the field as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank you for your support and affection expressed through the messages that have been sent to me. My dream has not ended yet. It was suspended due to a move but it is still alive. I am sure my partners will make sure I can achieve my dream, which is to be a champion.

“Another dream of mine was to play in a World Cup final but I won't be able to do it now. Although I'm sure that my partners will win and be champions along with me, and we Brazilian people will be celebrating this achievement. Thank you all!”

Neymar won’t need surgery but he will be immobilized until the injury heals.

 


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