- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Neymar thankful he’s not in a wheelchair now
Question of the Day
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) - Neymar became emotional when talking Thursday about the injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, saying that if the knee to his back had been slightly more to one side he “could be in a wheelchair” right now.
The Brazil striker cried as he recalled the injury, saying “God blessed” him and prevented a more serious injury. Neymar had to stop talking for several seconds, lowering his head and putting a hand in front of his eyes.
“It’s difficult to talk about a move that (happened) in such an important moment of my career,” he said.
Neymar fractured his third vertebra when defender Juan Camilo Zuniga hit him from behind in a challenge late in the quarterfinal match against Colombia.
“If it had been 2 centimeters to the center…,” he said, struggling to stay composed. “I could be in a wheelchair.”
The 22-year-old striker complained about Zuniga’s challenge, although he said the Colombian called to apologize.
“I don’t know if he was trying to hurt me, but if you understand football you know that it was not a normal challenge,” Neymar said. “I can’t protect myself when I’m not facing the play. The only thing that can protect me from someone coming from behind are the rules. I couldn’t protect myself and I ended getting hurt.”
Neymar had been recovering at home but returned to the team’s training camp on Thursday. He will travel with the squad to Brasilia to support them in the third-place match against the Netherlands on Saturday.
Neymar said the injury led to “the worst week of his life,” one that culminated - in his absence - with Brazil’s 7-1 thrashing by Germany in the semifinals. He said he didn’t know how to explain what happened, and that it would be “unfair for this group” to be remembered by that result alone.
“It would have been all right to lose, but not like this. It was unbelievable, inexplicable,” Neymar said. “I don’t have the words to explain what happened.”
He said the loss was “part of football,” and that he thought Brazil had the potential to rebound and win the next World Cup.
“We can’t lower our heads,” he said. “It will hurt for a long time, but better days will come.”
He wished luck to Germany and Argentina in Sunday’s final, but said he hopes the South Americans will come out on top. He plays at Barcelona with Argentina stars Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.
“I’m not cheering for Argentina, I’m cheering for my teammates,” he said.
Neymar said that it would be good for football to have Messi winning a world title.
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Pentagon running out of time to find mass of missing weapons in Afghanistan
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring 'God's Rescue Squad'
- WEST: Those who would rather join the jihadi army than their own nation's army
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq