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Neymar urges Brazil to complete World Cup 'dream'

AFP | Sunday, Jul 6, 2014

Injured Brazil star Neymar departed his team's training base in Terespolis in a helicopter on Saturday and headed home to Sao Paulo, after his World Cup ended in agony on Friday night.

Brazil - Neymar battled back tears on Saturday as he urged his Brazil team-mates to win the World Cup without him after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the quarter-final win over Colombia.

"It is a difficult moment for me and it is hard to know what to say. My dream is not over. It was interrupted," the emotional superstar said in a video released by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) as he left the team camp.

"Life moves on. I am sure my team-mates will do everything possible so that we can achieve our dream of being champions.

"It was also my dream to play in a World Cup final. It will not be this time, but I am sure we will overcome this and we will all be able to celebrate being champions." The Brazil squad applauded the 22-year-old Barcelona striker in an emotional farewell at their Teresopolis camp before he was taken to Rio de Janeiro by helicopter.

Meanwhile, Brazilian team doctor Jose Luiz Runco called for World Cup referees to do more to protect players as he confirmed details of Neymar's fractured third lumbar vertebrae, a bone in his lower back.

The injury was suffered in a crunching challenge by Colombia defender Juan Zuniga in Friday's game in Fortaleza, which Brazil won 2-1.

"In games involving Brazil we have seen some things happen that are not in keeping with what we should see on a football field," he said, recalling the crunching challenges during last week's game against Chile that already left Neymar battered and bruised.

"Referees have tried to avoid giving out cards but FIFA is likely to take some action now. They must have experts looking into what happened." FIFA has said it is looking into the incident after Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo did not even book Zuniga for the challenge. Zuniga has expressed regret for the injury but insisted there was no intention to cause harm.

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