Brazil supporters held their breath on Monday as Neymar went down clutching his ankle during a training session.
The prodigious forward is set to spearhead Brazil’s charge toward a sixth World Cup triumph at the 2014 tournament, but there were major concerns for his well-being after he rolled his ankle during his country’s preparations for the showpiece, per Jonny Singer of the Mail Online.
Here's how the injury occurred:
Ben Smith of the BBC provided us with an insight as to how any potential injury to Neymar would be received in Brazil:
Sight of Neymar rolling his ankle in training today has not done anything for the mood here in Rio. No Neymar. No World Cup.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) June 9, 2014
Former England international Gary Lineker was also hoping that it was nothing too serious:
Neymar injured in training. Not him! Please let it be nothing serious!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 9, 2014
But thankfully, the Barcelona man was back on his feet after receiving treatment and went on to play a full part in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s training session. He is expected to be fully fit for Brazil's opening game against Croatia on Thursday.
The news will come as great relief to the host nation, who are expecting the 22-year-old to fire Brazil to glory this summer. Brazil have a first XI that is bristling with talent, but it's the ingenuity and incisiveness of Neymar that makes this team such formidable opposition. Without him, their chances would diminish significantly.
Scolari spoke of how vital Neymar is to the cause ahead of the big kick-off, as noted here by BarcaStuff:
Scolari (coach BRA): "Neymar is wonderful. Even if he doesn't play, he works hard. he's great as a player, but also as a person."— barcastuff (@barcastuff) June 7, 2014
In the build-up to the tournament, Neymar has been looking in fine form, too. He was the star of the show in Brazil's warm-up game against Panama, in which he scored a sumptuous free-kick:
Despite suffering that knock, Neymar still had time to help a young fan fulfil a dream. The youngster ran on to the pitch during Brazil’s training session, and just as he was about to be escorted away by security, Brazil’s No.10 beckoned him back and took photos of him with the rest of the Brazil team.
Fox Soccer captured the moment here:
It was a touching moment and it indicated that while this Brazil team is under huge pressure, there is still a relaxed atmosphere about the camp. The players seem to be relishing the tag as favourites and look set to enjoy a World Cup on home soil.
Naturally—as the team’s undoubted star—the intense focus on Neymar will be unyielding. Admittedly, the injury sustained did look as though it was initially pretty serious, and the concerns of Selecao supporters were understandable. But every move made by the mercurial Brazilian talent will be subject to forensic examination ahead of the World Cup final on July 13.