sport

Neymar reveals wheelchair fear

An emotional Neymar cried as he recalled the challenge that ended his World Cup on Thursday and said he felt blessed not to have ended up in a wheelchair.

Colombia's Juan Zuniga kneed the Brazil forward in the back in the closing stages of the hosts' 2-1 quarter-final victory, ruling him out of the tournament before the host team's 7-1 semi-final defeat by Germany.

"I won't say he came to injure me, I don't what was going on in his head but everyone who understands football can see that it wasn't a normal challenge," Neymar said.

"When you want to foul someone to stop a game or stop a counter-attack, you kick their ankles, you push, you pull, but the way the ball was falling, it wasn't a normal game situation.

"Many of you say I am a diver and I don't care that you say that. I can defend myself when I can see what's going on around me.

"But I can't defend myself from what comes from behind. What defends me in that situation is the rules and I couldn't defend myself from that and I was injured.

"God blessed me," a tearful Neymar added. "If it had been another two centimetres I could be in a wheelchair today."

Neymar said Zuniga called him the next day to apologise but he stopped short of forgiving his rival for the challenge.

"I don't hate him, I don't hold a grudge," Neymar said. "But I don't feel anything."

Neymar also revealed he will support Brazil's biggest rivals Argentina in Sunday's World Cup final against Germany.

He said he wanted Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano to win football's biggest prize, even if many of his compatriots will be surprised at his open support for their neighbours.

"I always said I wanted Argentina to get to the final because Brazil would be there but it never worked out like that," he said.

"I still want them there because my two team mates are there, Messi and Mascherano, and I hope they win."

"Messi's won almost everything and I think he deserves to be champion and I am cheering for him to be champion."