Neymar’s World Cup is over.
Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has confirmed to the media in Brazil that Neymar has fractured a vertebrae and is out for the World Cup.
He suffered the injury late in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia when Juan Zúñiga jumped and kneed him in the back.
There is no word on a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return, and the injury very well could affect the start of Barcelona’s club season.
He will not need surgery, Lasmar confirmed.
“It is a benign fracture,” Lasmar told TV Bandeirantes. “This news is hard to take, but he will not be available at this World Cup. The fracture does not require surgery. There will be a rehab program, [he] needs comfort to ease the pain.”
According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, Neymar was taken to the hospital immediately after the win over Colombia, and was in “lots of physical and emotional distress.”
Neymar has a reputation for exaggerating pain on the pitch, but fans grew concerned when the trainer was immediately called out, and medical personnel proceeded to load him on to a stretcher taking special care to stabilize his back.
Brazilian fans crowded outside the Fortaleza hospital where he was taken, hoping for the best for their most creative player.
The match was incredibly physical, with 54 total fouls. However, Spanish referee Carlos Velasco was heavily criticized for failing to produce cautions for persistent fouling. Just four yellow cards were produced during the match, the first coming in the 64th minute after over 40 fouls had been already been committed.
There will now be added pressure on strikers Hulk and Fred to carry the attacking load, as both have been below standards so far. Hulk’s first touch proved wasteful on numerous occasions, and Fred had just one touch in the 18-yard box against Colombia, often looking a step behind the pace.
Brazil takes on Germany in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday. They will also be missing captain Thiago Silva, who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia.