Ronaldo: Challenge on Neymar 'violent, unlawful'

Brazil great Ronaldo says the challenge that resulted in a fractured vertebra for Neymar and ruled him out of the rest of the World Cup was violent and intentional.

FIFA's disciplinary committee reviewing incident

Brazilian striker Neymar is taken off the pitch on a stretcher after a challenge against Colombia on Friday. (Fabrizio Bensch/Getty Images)

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.

The FIFA disciplinary committee planned to review video footage of the challenge.

Neymar was carried off the field in severe pain late in Brazil's 2-1 quarter-final 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. 

Later Friday night, a video on YouTube showed Neymar's teammates comforting him while he sat in a wheelchair.

I didn't like that very high knee so that leads me to believe it was a foul with intention to actually cause harm.- Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo on Neymar challenge

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 played the advantage and didn't issue a card to Zuniga, who leaped high behind Neymar and at speed. 

"I didn't like that very high knee so that leads me to believe it was a foul with intention to actually cause harm," Ronaldo said. "I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player, but that is not important any more.

"We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player."

In a post-match broadcast interview, Zuniga said he had no intention of injuring Neymar.

"I didn't mean to hurt him, I was trying to defend my shirt, my country, as I've always done," the Colombian defender said. "Sadly this happened. Hopefully, with God's help, he'll recover."

Ronaldo said Brazil, which is desperate to win a sixth World Cup title on home soil, "loses enormously" in the absence of its undisputed star. The Brazilians play Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday, and Ronaldo said the loss of Neymar will give other players like Fred and Hulk more motivation.


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