RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, July 5- Brazil football star Neymar said Saturday that his dream of playing in the World Cup final had been stolen from him by a fractured vertebrae inflicted by a Colombia rival.
Neymar departed his team’s training base in Terespolis in a helicopter and headed home to Sao Paulo, after his World Cup ended in agony on Friday night.
“They took away my dream of playing in a World Cup final, but the dream of being world champion has not ended,” Neymar said in remarks released by the Brazilian football federation.
“There are two games left and I am sure my team mates will do everything to lift the trophy,” he said.
The Brazil squad applauded the 22-year-old Barcelona striker at an emotional farewell at their Teresopolis camp before he was taken to Rio de Janeiro by helicopter, according to the CBF federation.
Neymar was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after Colombian defender Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back in a challenge in Friday’s quarter-final. Brazil play Germany in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old, who suffered a fractured vertebrae after a crunching challenge by Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in Brazil’s 2-1 victory in Fortaleza, was loaded on a stretcher into a helicopter on a pitch at the Granja Comary training ground.
With his father alongside him, Neymar waved to the many cameras before taking off. Local media indicated he was bound for Sao Paulo.
There, he is likely to join up with his family in his hometown of Santos to start his recovery expected to last at least a month.
Without their star player, Brazil must take on Germany in Tuesday’s semi-final in Belo Horizonte.