Brasilia, Brazil – Neymar has said he is sure Brazil will win the World Cup, in his first comments after suffering an injury that ruled the Brazil striker out of the later stages.
The 22-year-old made the comments on Saturday as fans reeled from the news he would take no further part in the competition after his injury in the quarter-final with Colombia.
"It’s a really hard moment, I don’t have the words to say what’s going on in my head and in my heart. I just want to say that I will come back as quickly as possible,” he said in the video posted on YouTube.
"Another dream of mine was to play on a World Cup final, but I won't be able to do it now. Although I'm sure that my partners will win and be champions ... and we, the Brazilian people, will be celebrating this achievement."
Neymar’s injury has hit Brazil hard. During a television interview with the striker later on Saturday, a presenter and some of the studio audience were reduced to tears.
The nation’s grief was echoed by the president, Dilma Rousseff, who sent a personal note to the national team and a separate note to Neymar.
“Dear Neymar, your face in pain … hurt my heart and the hearts of all Brazilians. […] I know as every Brazilian you will never give up, and faster than we can imagine, you will be back filling our souls with happiness and our history with success,” Rousseff wrote.
Neymar was injured in the quarter-final game with Colombia. He suffered a fracture of the third lumbar vertebra, which would need at least four weeks to heel, according to a medical statement
Juan Zuniga, the Colombia defender who injured Neymar, said: "I didn't mean to hurt him, I was trying to defend my shirt, my country, as I've always done. Sadly this happened. Hopefully, with God's help, he'll recover.''
Zuniga was bombarded with hate mail on social media on Saturday, even after the apology.
FIFA is analysing the incident to see if punishment is due. Brazil face Germany in the semi-finals on Tuesday.