Brazil doctor: Neymar will be training at Barcelona within a month
The forward fractured his vertebra in the 2-1 win over Colombia on Friday, but Jose Luiz Runco says the injury is less serious than some had feared
Neymar is not seriously injured and will be back training at Barcelona within a month, according to Brazil's team doctor.
The 22-year-old was stretchered off after a reckless challenge by Colombia's Jose Zuniga in Brazil's 2-1 win in the sides' World Cup quarter-final on Friday and Selecao doctor Rodrigo Lasmar later revealed the forward would be sidelined for the rest of the tournament.
Due to the delicate nature of spinal injuries, there were also concerns over the player's prognosis in the long-term, but those fears have now been allayed by Brazil's chief doctor.
"We're happy to say it's a minor injury," Jose Luiz Runco told TV Globo on Saturday. "He'll recover fully and there will be no long-term effects. It will take three or four weeks to heal."
"Right now he needs rest and analgesic anti-inflammatory medication, and in four weeks I'm sure he can resume his normal activities and return to his club [for training]."
Runco revealed that Barcelona had been informed of his condition and claimed the player will be able to remain with the Brazil squad during the remainder of their World Cup campaign.
"We have informed his club of his condition and kept them up to date," he added. "In terms of him staying with the squad for the rest of the World Cup, I see no problem at all."
"Whether he can be on the bench with the other players is up to the coaching staff, however."
Scolari: Neymar couldn't feel his legs after injury
The Brazil head coach talks about the initial fears over the extent of the striker's condition when he suffered a broken vertebra against Colombia in the World Cup quarter-finals
Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed that Neymar was scared he had been paralysed when he suffered his spinal injury in Brazil's clash with Colombia.
The 22-year-old forward was caught with a knee in the back in a challenge by Juan Zuniga late on in the Selecao's 2-1 quarter-final win Fortaleza on Friday and was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a fractured vertebra.
However, Scolari has shed light on the genuine worry for the Barcelona striker's condition in the immediate aftermath of the clash and suggested that the seriousness of the injury was initially thought to be much greater.
"He said 'I can’t feel my legs'," the 65-year-old told Marca, uncovering the details of Neymar's conversation with Marcelo on the pitch.
"Marcelo was scared and called the doctor on but the doctor couldn't get on in the confusion."
"It was a big shock, the image of Neymar being stretchered off to the helicopter, in difficulty, crying."
"Neymar was our benchmark, one of our references, because he is a player who makes a difference in any team. We're in a situation where we've lost something we don’t want to miss, especially for the semi-final and final."
Scolari also said that Neymar, who had scored four times in the tournament prior to his injury, has requested to be in the stadium in Belo Horizonte for Tuesday's encounter with Germany and, should Brazil make it, the final too.
"He'll be with us if he can be, on the bench or in the stands," the former Chelsea boss continued.
"We’ve asked this. It all depends on his state in the coming days. By his will, I've certainly felt that he will be."
Zuniga: I didn't mean to hurt Neymar
The Colombia defender says he had no intention of injuring the Brazil star following his challenge which ended the 22-year-old's World Cup campaign on Friday
Juan Camilo Zuniga insists he did not mean to hurt Neymar after his challenge ended the Brazil star's World Cup.
In the closing stages of Friday's quarter-final clash, the Napoli defender crashed into the back of Neymar on the edge of the Brazil area, forcing the Barcelona ace to be stretchered off.
Hospital tests later confirmed the 22-year-old suffered a broken vertebra in his back and will therefore be unable to compete in the semi-final against Germany, but Zuniga maintains his challenge was not an aggressive one.
"I didn't mean to hurt him. On the pitch, you have to make tough challenges, but it was not my intention to injure him," the Napoli defender told reporters.
"Brazil were going strong and so were we. It was a normal challenge, I just wanted to defend my country.
"I hope it's nothing too serious, he's a talent for Brazil and the world of football."
Goals from Thiago Silva and David Luiz were enough to earn Brazil a 2-1 win on Friday and book a last-four clash with Germany.
Fifa to investigate Neymar incident
The disciplinary committee is set to examine Juan Camilo Zuniga's challenge on the Brazil star, which ruled him out of the rest of the World Cup
Fifa has confirmed it will analyse the incident in Friday's World Cup quarter-final which saw Neymar suffer a broken vertebra in his back.
Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga challenged the Brazil star from behind in the closing stages of the game, causing the back injury which has now ruled the Barcelona forward out of the tournament.
Zuniga insisted after the match that he did not mean to hurt Neymar with the challenge, for which he escaped a yellow or red card, but Fifa has since revealed that its disciplinary committee will examine the incident to see if further action should be taken.
"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," Fifa's head of media Delia Fischer told reporters at a briefing on Saturday.
Despite Zuniga's protestations that his challenge was honest, former Brazil striker Ronaldo claims the Colombian has a case to answer.
"The challenge was a very violent one – I believe there was an intention by the Colombian player to cause some harm," he insisted.
"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."
Goals from David Luiz and Thiago Silva sealed a 2-1 win for Brazil on the night that secured their semi-final spot, where they will face Germany.
Agent: Di Maria is out of World Cup
The Real Madrid winger is facing heartbreak in being ruled out of the tournament, according to his representative
Argentina star Angel Di Maria’s agent has claimed his client will miss the remainder of the World Cup after he sustained a thigh injury in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Belgium.
The Real Madrid winger lasted just 33 minutes of the quarter-final in Brasilia before limping out of the action.
His agent Eugenio Lopez, who works alongside Jorge Mendes, revealed to Goal Argentina that the 26-year-old had told him he had a torn thigh muscle, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.
Argentina are due to face the winner of the Netherlands/Costa Rica tie in Sao Paulo on Wednesday with the final due to take place in Rio next Sunday.
Further tests will be carried out tomorrow after which it is expected the news will be confirmed by team doctors.
His absence would be a huge blow for a side already over-reliant on Lionel Messi.
Di Maria has played well in bursts in Brazil but has yet to replicate the form which helped Madrid to the Champions League crown in May.
One consolation for coach Alejandro Sabella is the fact that one of his other star forwards, Gonzalo Higuain, stepped up against the Belgians, grabbing the first-half winner with a clinical shot on the turn.
After the game Sabella admitted he had his fingers crossed that Di Maria would be fit enough to play a part in the tournament going forward.
“Di Maria's injury could be costly for us. Angel has a problem with his thigh and will undergo tests tomorrow," he explained.
I'm glad Neymar's injury is not supposed to have long-term effects, but the World Cup will not be the same without my sweet prince. :(