Brazil sensation Neymar writhes on the ground in pain after taking a knee to the back that fractured a vertebra and has ruled him out for the rest of the World Cup.
Lars Baron/FIFA/Getty Images
July 05, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Brazil great Ronaldo believes there was intention and violence in the challenge on Neymar that left the star forward with a fractured vertebra and ruled him out of the World Cup.

Neymar was carried off the field in severe pain late in Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia on Friday night after being kneed in the back in a collision with Juan Camilo Zuniga. Medical tests later confirmed Neymar had fractured a bone at the base of his back and would be on the sidelines for four weeks, news that sent the World Cup host nation into a somber mood.

Ronaldo, who shares the World Cup scoring record with current Germany forward Miroslav Klose, told a news conference Saturday that ''the injury was a very violent one.''

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''We could see on television there was an intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm,'' Ronaldo said. ''I don't think it was a normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive.''

The referee took no action on the field against Zuniga, who leaped high behind Neymar and at speed. The FIFA disciplinary committee planned to review video footage of the challenge.

''I didn't like that very high knee so that leads me to believe it was a foul with intention to actually cause harm,'' Ronaldo said. ''I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player, but that is not important any more.

''We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player.''

In a post-match broadcast interview, Zuniga said he had no intention of injuring Neymar.

''I didn't mean to hurt him, I was trying to defend my shirt, my country, as I've always done,'' the Colombian defender said. ''Sadly this happened. Hopefully, with God's help, he'll recover.''

Ronaldo said Brazil, which is desperate to win a sixth World Cup title on home soil, ''loses enormously'' in the absence of its undisputed star. The Brazilians play Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday, and Ronaldo said the loss of Neymar will give other players like Fred and Hulk more motivation.

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