Napoli and Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga has been subjected to an intense backlash following his ill-timed challenge on Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar, which consequently sidelined the star striker for the rest of the tournament and de-railed the host nation's World Cup campaign.
Brazil may have slayed Colombia 2-1 at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza earlier this month but in the subsequent match four days later, on July 8 at Belo Horizonte, Brazil were picked apart by a merciless Germany team who inflicted a humiliating 7-1 score onto the Selecao.
Without Neymar, Brazil suffered a contrast in collective ability and confidence, and ended up finishing fourth, having also recorded a loss against the Netherlands (3-0).
|With Neymar||Possession||Touches /Match||Pass /Match||Pass Acc||Shots /Match||Shots on target /Match||Match/Win|
|Without Neymar||Possession||Touches /Match||Pass /Match||Pass Acc||Shots /Match||Shots on target /Match||Match/Lost|
While Brazil - on a per game average - put together more touches and more accurate passes, they failed to really test the opposition goalkeeper like they did when Neymar was on the field.
After fracturing his vertebrae Brazil's tournament fell apart but the forward is not the only one to feel pain, as Zuniga has been through emotional hell, as explained by the player's father Camilo Zuniga, via Lancenet.
"We spoke to the authorities and of course as a father I am worried. Some really crazy messages arrived, big threats, racist insults too. I am not just afraid for my son, but also his wife and little daughter. After what happened we have been accompanied by security guards, but I hope it will just be temporary and that soon we can resume a normal life.
"Neymar already absolved him of blame, my son did not do it on purpose. He is totally against violence and has no previous record of nasty fouls.
"Anyone who offends him doesn’t understand football, as there were many incorrect interpretations of that challenge. Injuries are part of football, my son apologised in public and explained himself."