Pele offers support for Neymar
5:42pm Saturday 5th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Pele has sent his support to Neymar after the attacker's World Cup was ended by injury, although the Brazilian great does not believe his absence will stop the hosts from winning the tournament.
The hosts and favourites disposed of Colombia 2-1 in an enthralling battle at the Estadio Castelao on Friday, setting-up a semi-final clash with Germany.
However, progression was tainted by injury to key man Neymar, who left the field on a stretcher in the closing stages after taking a knee in the back from Juan Zuniga.
The 22-year-old was in tears and left the stadium on a drip, with Brazil doctor Rodrigo Lasmar quickly confirming he has sustained a fractured vertebra that will end his World Cup.
That news has shaken the hosts but Pele does not believe the injury to Neymar will end their chances of glory, pointing to his own experience in 1962.
"@neymarjr was raised in my @santosfc and it hurts our hearts to know that he can no longer defend Brazil in the World Cup," he said.
"I was also injured during the 1962 World Cup in Chile, and I was out for the rest of the tournament, but God helped Brazil continue on to win the Championship.
"I hope the same will happen with our Selecao in this World Cup."
Pele posted his support on Twitter where many other high-profile figures have expressed their sympathy, varying from basketball player LeBron James to Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen and the country's president Dilma Rousseff.
Former Selecao players Roberto Carlos, Kaka and Gilberto Silva have sent supportive messages, while Neymar's international team-mates have also taken to social media.
Brazil and Chelsea midfielder Willian tweeted: "Have strength brother. @neymarjr we are together with you, we love you."
Selecao striker Jo and midfielder Paulinho had similar messages, while Fred's lengthy Facebook post included a drawing of Neymar being surrounded by fans.
Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi was another to post his support, saying: "Neymar, I hope you recover very soon friend!"
Players from Brazil's semi-final opponents Germany also expressed sympathy on social media, with Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski sending their regards.
The latter posted on Twitter: "Happy with our victory today, can't wait to face #Brasil, sad for @NeymarJr hope you get better soon #ForcaNeymar #eTois #poldi #worldcup".
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo revealed he had also sent a message of support to Neymar, saying the country would dedicate a World Cup win to him.
Ronaldo told reporters in Rio de Janeiro: "I sent him a message conveying all my support and solidarity, telling him I felt not only his physical pain but the agony of having to abandon the World Cup.
"For such a young player with so many dreams, and one of those dreams was to play the World Cup in his own country in front of his own people.
"He has suffered a very heavy blow and I told him the whole country is proud of him, and that every effort will be made to win the World Cup in Brazil and dedicate it to him."
Lothar Matthaus, who captained Germany to the 1990 World Cup, added his support.
He said: "We have tears in our eyes when we see the image of Neymar yesterday. All German fans wish him a speedy recovery."