Did Neymar Fake Injury? Conspiracy Theorists Speculate About Brazilian Star’s Back Fracture

By Larry Ong
Larry Ong
Larry Ong
Larry Ong is a New York-based journalist with Epoch Times. He writes about China and Hong Kong. He is also a graduate of the National University of Singapore, where he read history.
July 13, 2014 Updated: July 13, 2014

There have been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Brazilian soccer star Neymar since he injured his back in Brazil’s quarter final match against Colombia.

The 22-year-old star suffered a minor fracture in his third vertebra after Colombian defender Juan Zúñiga kneed him in the back towards the end of the match.

Since then, there have been a number of conspiracy theories being thrown about that Neymar faked his injury.

One theory brought up is that Neymar is not really injured. Conspiracists point out that the Neymar that was shown on television being sent to the hospital is missing the tattoos from his right arm, and could possibly be an imposter.

Another theory is that Neymar was injured, but not badly enough that he could not feature in the World Cup anymore. Proponents of this theory point out that Neymar could walk normally when he was back home in Sao Paulo, indicating that the injury was not serious.

Yet another theory suggests that in light of Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation by Germany, Neymar was deliberately excluded from the semi final game in order to spare him the humiliation of a lost.

Regardless, the Wall Street Journal has compiled a list of the World Cup’s first 32 games, and found out that the Brazil team are guilty of “faking” injuries, i.e., pretending to be injured before getting up again. WSJ notes that out of 17 “incidents” in two games, Neymar had the more “injuries,” and was “back on his feet within 15 seconds.”

In light of any real evidence, however, it is safer to give Neymar the benefit of the doubt for his back injury.

See an AP story below.

Neymar Unscathed by Brazil’s Huge World Cup Defeat

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Neymar will leave with his image untarnished by Brazil’s disastrous World Cup loss to Germany, widely seen as the player in charge of helping the national team recover from the historic home defeat.

Neymar’s first World Cup ended in disappointment when he was carried off the field on a stretcher with a fractured vertebra.

He was recovering at home when Brazil self-destructed in the 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals, helping shield him from attacks by critics ready to question his potential for greatness.

While Brazil’s national team will remain discredited for some time, Neymar’s World Cup will be remembered mostly for his good performances until the back injury prematurely ended his tournament.

Fans loudly booed Brazil’s entire team after the final whistle in the match against Germany last Tuesday. The criticism of players continued unabated and was likely to continue on Saturday when the hosts play the Netherlands for third place in Brasilia.

Neymar seems to be the only one being spared.

“Neymar is our only hero,” said Lucas Oliveira, a 15-year-old Brazilian fan in Brasilia. “The only reason Brazil lost the way it did was because Neymar wasn’t playing.”

The 22-year-old Neymar was carrying the nation’s hopes for a title at home until he took a knee in the back during the quarterfinal win over Colombia.

Neymar is expected to remain sidelined for another few weeks to fully heal from the lower back injury that resulted from a collision with Juan Camilo Zuniga.

Images of Neymar crying in pain were broadcast around the world, but from the beginning doctors said the injury was not serious enough to jeopardize his career.

He returned to Brazil’s training camp outside Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, when practice was stopped briefly so he could greet his teammates. Neymar is expected to be in Brasilia to support the team in the third-place match on Saturday.

His club, Barcelona, expects Neymar back in early August to continue a recovery process that it said is progressing “very well.” He should be fit for the team’s first friendly after the World Cup, likely against Colombia on Sept. 5.

Brazilian fans can’t wait to see him back on the field, knowing that playing well and winning again may be the easiest way to try to forget the 7-1 loss on Friday. Neymar will be 26 when the 2018 World Cup is staged in Russia.

“He can still give us a lot of happiness until then,” Brazilian fan Lavinia Silva said.

Neymar scored four goals in his five games in the World Cup and was considered one of the stand-out players. Half of Brazil’s goals until then were scored by him.

Neymar has missed only seven of Brazil’s 61 matches played after he made his international debut following the 2010 World Cup. In the 54 matches he played, Brazil won 36, drew 12 and lost six. He had been in every match under Luiz Felipe Scolari since the coach took over in late 2012.

Larry Ong
Larry Ong
Larry Ong is a New York-based journalist with Epoch Times. He writes about China and Hong Kong. He is also a graduate of the National University of Singapore, where he read history.