Two days after Brazil forward Neymar broke his third vertebra after being kneed in the back by Colombia’s Juan Camillo Zuniga, speculation began to arise that one of the World Cup’s breakout stars could possibly make his return should Brazil advance to Sunday’s final. The wishful thinking, mostly by the Brazilian media, reached such a high level that Neymar and Brazil were forced to issue a statement on Sunday night saying that the 22-year-old’s World Cup is officially over.
Neymar and the Brazilian football confederation denied media reports that the striker could undergo special treatment on his fractured vertebra to try to play in the World Cup final if the tournament hosts make it that far.
Neymar and the confederation released statements late Sunday saying that nothing that could risk the player’s health or career would be attempted to allow him to try to play if Brazil beats Germany in Tuesday’s semifinals.
The statements came after the Brazilian media quoted doctors from the Brazilian club Santos, Neymar’s former team, as saying there was a chance the striker could return for Sunday’s final with alternative treatments and painkiller injections.
The Brazilian soccer federation said Neymar’s prognosis is excellent and that he will be sidelined for about 45 days. He plays professionally for Barcelona in Spain.
“Let’s not create an illusion to the Brazilian people,” Brazil team doctor Jose Luiz Runco told Globo TV. “There isn’t the smallest possibility for Neymar to play on July 13 if Brazil reaches the final.”
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