'I was afraid' - Neymar admits he thought injury had ended his World Cup and sends get well message to Brazil great Pele

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  • Neymar missed two matches with injury
  • Star attacker thought he would miss rest of World Cup
  • Made goal scoring return against South Korea

WHAT HAPPENED? Neymar had to be substituted late on in the 2-0 group stage win against Serbia, sparking fears that he would miss the remainder of the competition. The Paris Saint-Germain star sat out the Selecao's next two matches but returned to the starting XI for the last-16 tie against South Korea.

WHAT THEY SAID: After scoring in Brazil's 4-1 win against South Korea, Neymar said: “I was thinking of a million different things. I was afraid of not being able to play in this World Cup again but I have the support of all of my colleagues, my family and I tried to look for strength where I could not find it. When I was reading all of the messages of encouragement, it helped my recovery.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Neymar's penalty conversion was his 76th goal for Brazil, putting him within one of the nation's record goal scorer Pele. After the game, the Brazil players paid tribute to the legendary attacker, who is in hospital because of concerns for his health. “It’s hard to put it into words," Neymar said. "I wish Pele the best. He will become healthier very soon, I am sure.”


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WHAT NEXT FOR BRAZIL? Neymar and his team-mates will go on to meet Croatia in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on December 9.