Neymar’s latest World Cup injury worry turns up bad Brazilian memories of 2014 back fracture
Brazil’s opening game of the 2022 World Cup went according to plan as the Selecao started off with a 2-0 win against Serbia on Thursday.
Sadly for star player Neymar, though, there are fears that his contribution to the competition will be limited moving forward. The Paris Saint-Germain attacker went off injured late in the second half and was spotted with a swollen ankle after the game.
The 30-year-old, coach Tite and all Brazil fans will be desperate for good news, but the early-tournament concerns for the attacker will bring back bad memories of the injury he sustained in the 2014 World Cup.
What happened to Neymar in the 2014 World Cup?
Neymar sustained a horrific injury during the 2014 World Cup clash against Colombia.
During a heated encounter between the South American nations, Juan Zuniga dug his knee into the back of the then-22-year-old forward, sending him to the ground.
Zuniga went unpunished for the challenge, but Neymar had to be taken off 88 minutes into the quarter-final tie, which Brazil won 2-1.
Did Neymar play again in the 2014 World Cup?
The injury ruled Neymar out of the remainder of the competition.
He was diagnosed with a broken bone in his back following Zuniga’s brutal challenge during the heated contest between the two teams.
He had to watch on from the sidelines as the Selecao were demolished 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.
Then, they were well-beaten by Netherlands 3-0 in the third-place play-off to complete the humiliation on home soil.
How long was Neymar out?
Neymar only had to sit out of the remainder of the competition in Brazil.
Luckily for him and Barcelona, he was able to return to action early in the 2014-15 season with the Camp Nou side.
However, it was not exactly that cut and dry for the former Santos hero. Indeed, that tackle could have ended his career.
“The injury has been my worst moment because of the week I went through there – all that. I just cried at home, I would see my mom, my dad, crying – everyone sad, my friends, family,” he wrote in The Players’ Tribune.
“… And I remember that I had my head on the ground, and [Brazil team-mate] Marcelo was saying: ‘No, no … Get the doctors in.’ And I said: ‘No, no, no. I want to play.’ Because I wanted to score.
“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. I didn’t feel my legs, so I went to the hospital that’s in the stadium.”
He added: “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?’