Neymar dreams of Brazilian triumph
7:58am Sunday 6th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Neymar is convinced that Brazil can win the World Cup without him.
Brazil's World Cup star and poster boy was ruled out of the tournament on Friday night when he fractured a verterbra after being kneed in the back by Colombia's Juan Zuniga.
Twenty-four hours after Brazil's quarter-final win, the Barcelona forward released a video in which he spoke about his heart-breaking injury for the first time.
The 22-year-old, who scored four goals for the Selecao in Brazil, was visibly upset when speaking into the camera about missing the rest of the World Cup.
But the former Santos player is sure his team-mates will retain their composure and go on to lift the trophy on July 13 at the Maracana.
"My World Cup has not ended, it has been interrupted by a play but the tournament goes on and I told my team-mates to do everything in order to help me achieve my dream to be world champion," Neymar said.
"My dream was to play at a World Cup final but I'm certain my team-mates will be champions.
"I will be there with them, and all Brazilians will soon be celebrating all of that."
Hundreds of fans gathered outside the Fortaleza hospital where Neymar was taken straight after the match in the northern city on Friday.
He was flown back to Rio on Saturday, where he had a tearful reunion with his team-mates, who returned to their Teresopolis base to begin preparations for their semi-final against Germany.
So strong is Neymar's status as a global icon that leading footballers, sports stars, celebrities and even politicians have wished Neymar a speedy recovery.
His name was sung by locals who attended the quarter-final between Holland and Costa Rica in Salvador on Saturday night.
"To Brazil, my team-mates, the coaches and the fans, this is a difficult time for me and I don't have the words to describe what is going through my mind and my heart," said Neymar, who is expected to be out for three to six weeks.
"I want to thank everyone for all the support and affection they have shown me and for all the messages that I have received."
Zuniga, who has received a flurry of abuse from Brazil football fans on Twitter for injuring Neymar, sent the injured star a message of support on Saturday.
Zuniga defended his challenge immediately after the match and on Saturday emphasised he had meant Neymar no harm.
''I feel burdened by this situation,'' Zuniga said in an Instagram message. ''It resulted from a normal play and there was no bad intention, evil or recklessness from my part.
''I want to send a special salute to Neymar.
''I admire you, I respect you and I consider you one of the best players in the world.
''I hope you recover soon in order to continue to show us that in football there is a sport full of virtue and qualities, which I have put into practice since I was 12 years old and as a professional player.''
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo claims Zuniga did intend to hurt the striker.
He told a news conference in Rio de Janeiro: ''The challenge was a very violent one - I believe there was an intention by the Colombian player to cause some harm
''I don't think it was normal football play, I don't know whether he had planned this beforehand but I do believe it was very aggressive, very violent.''
The Colombian could find himself in hot water with FIFA despite his apology.
FIFA's disciplinary committee is studying the challenge to decide on action against the Napoli defender
FIFA head of media Delia Fischer said: ''The disciplinary committee is analysing the matter. The spirit of fair play is very important and we want to avoid difficult things on the field of play.''