Brazilian superstar Neymar thought he was paralyzed when he could not feel his legs after Colombian Juan Zuniga fractured his back on Friday during Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory.
Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told a Spanish newspaper that Neymar immediately told teammate Marcelo, “I can’t feel my legs.”
“Marcelo was scared and called the doctor on but the doctor couldn’t get on in the confusion. It was a big shock, the image of Neymar being stretchered off to the helicopter, in difficulty, crying,” Scolari said.
Neymar, the FC Barcelona player who is the face of the Brazilian team, was kneed in the back by Zuniga in the 88th minute as Brazil was holding on to their lead. Neymar immediately waved for a substitute and was carried off the field on a stretcher and directly into the locker room.
Brazil plays Germany in its semifinal showdown, and they will also be without their captain and center back Thiago Silva, who received his second yellow card before the semifinals. That earned him a one-game suspension, per FIFA’s rules.
Neymar is tied for second in the World Cup in scoring with four goals and is Brazil’s most dynamic player on offense.