| Brazil`s soccer hero Neymar broke down in tears during a news conference Friday, talking about his fears over being paralyzed after sustaining a spine injury during the World Cup quarter-final against Columbia.
Neymar, who focused on medical treatment, appeared in public Friday for the first time since the injury. Showing up at the news conference on foot, he hugged his teammates in training.
"I thank God for helping me, because if that blow had been a few inches lower I would have risked being paralyzed," he said. After falling onto the ground after being tackled by Columbia defender Camilo Zuniga, Neymar complained to his teammates that he could not feel his legs.
"God has blessed me. If it was 2cm lower, I`d be in a wheelchair right now," a tearful Neymar told reporters. Although he said he bore no grudge against Zuniga, the Brazilian player claimed, "Everyone in football knows (Zuniga`s challenge) is not normal."
Having watched his team`s 1-7 semi-final humiliation against Germany on television, Neymar said, "Despite the historic defeat, we can`t lower our heads," he said, expressing hope that he and his colleagues will smile again as soon as possible.
He also noted that although he was not a fan of Argentina, he would root for Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi. Neymar plans to accompany his team to the third-place playoff against the Netherlands.