After Colombia’s Camilo Zuñiga collided with Brazil’s Neymar in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, the Brazilian soccer phenom told reporters that he bears no grudge over his fractured vertebra, Colombian media reported on Thursday.
Neymar explained that Zuñiga made a fair attempt at a play on the ball when his knee landed on the Brazilian’s back, fracturing it and preventing him from competing further in the World Cup, according to Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
“I don’t feel hatred. I don’t feel anything. He [Zuñiga] even called me the next day saying that he did not want to injure me. I have no grudge. I hope that he has success in his career,” said Neymar.
The Brazilian suffered a fracture to his third lumbar vertebra on July 4, which will prevent him from playing soccer for three to six weeks.
Although there has been no official confirmation, if the recovery process goes well, Neymar should be able to play in a friendly grudge match against Colombia in Miami, Florida on September 5.
Neymar told reporters that if Zuñiga’s knee had landed an inch away, he could have ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
After threats to Zuñiga and his family, who reside in Italy, the Colombian government called upon Italian officials to provide protection for the Colombian, even though the collision was ruled unintentional by FIFA’s governing body.
Having lost their star player, Brazil was soundly beaten by Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup 1-7.
That match, according to CBS News, broke all social media records of any sporting event with 35.6 million Tweets during the approximately two hours of play. The previous record was set by the 2014 Super Bowl with 24.9 million Tweets.