Neymar claimed the injury he suffered in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup was one of the worst moments of his career.
During the making of an exclusive new documentary entitled ‘Neymar and The Line of Kings’, the 29-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star has seemed to suggest his playing days are winding down.
“I think it’s my last World Cup,” Neymar told DAZN when asked about next year’s showpiece in Qatar. He will turn 31 seven weeks after the final of the tournament, scheduled for December 18, 2022.
PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino, Brazil boss Tite and compatriot Thiago Silva have been among those offering their support to Neymar, who claims he is unsure whether he has the “strength of mind to deal with football” much longer.
And, in another excerpt from the documentary, Neymar revealed one of the toughest incidents he has gone through to date, and just how close he was to suffer an injury with serious consequences.
Neymar, aged 22, was Brazil’s poster boy heading into the 2014 World Cup on home soil. Only a year on from his move from Santos to Barcelona, the forward was the nation’s great hope as it hosted FIFA’s flagship tournament.
He scored four goals – including a double in the opening game against Croatia – as Brazil finished top of Group A.
However, Neymar’s tournament was ended in the quarter-finals, when Colombia’s Camilo Zuniga barged into his back, fracturing a vertebra.
“It was one of the worst moments of my career. It destroyed my dream to keep playing in the World Cup,” reflects Neymar in the documentary.
“When I felt that pain in my back, I remember that Marcelo wanted to help me up, but I was really in pain.
“I then tried to move my legs, but I wasn’t able to. I didn’t have the strength to get up. I told them: ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t feel anything’.
“The doctor told me, ‘I have good news and bad news’. I asked him to tell me the bad news first. He said, ‘your World Cup is over’.
“I started sobbing, and asked him, ‘and the good news?’ – he said: ‘you were two centimetres away from not being able to walk anymore’.”
Brazil held on to progress to the semi-finals, yet without Neymar, capitulated 7-1 to Germany in one of the most humiliating results in World Cup history.
Neymar, fortunately, recovered, going on to help Barca win a treble in 2014-15, before becoming the world’s most expensive player when he joined PSG in 2017.
He also helped Brazil win Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, a crown that was retained at Tokyo 2020.
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