RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil great Ronaldo believes there was intention and violence in the challenge on Neymar that left the star forward with a fractured vertebra and ruled him out of the World Cup.
Neymar was carried off the field in severe pain late in Brazil's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia on Friday night after being kneed in the back in a collision with Juan Camilo Zuniga. Medical tests later confirmed Neymar had fractured a bone at the base of his back and would be on the sidelines for four weeks, news that sent the World Cup host nation into a somber mood.
Ronaldo, who shares the World Cup scoring record, told a news conference Saturday that "the injury was a very violent one."
"We could see on television there was an intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm," Ronaldo said. "I don't think it was a normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive."
The referee took no action on the field against Zuniga, who leaped high behind Neymar and at speed. The FIFA disciplinary committee planned to review video footage of the challenge.
"I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player, but that is not important anymore," Ronaldo said. "We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player."
Sharing the news conference with Ronaldo, former Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro agreed that Zuniga appeared to want to hurt Neymar.