Brazil in their opening World Cup game against Switzerland was not an easy on as they did not hold back in a physical encounter and Neymar, who was playing his first competitive game since a foot operation in February, felt the consequences.
Hobbling back into the dressing room, he felt pain in the same area and there was panic as doctors feared he’d suffered a setback. It was just a shock as further examinations showed that it was just a knock to his ankle, with the team doctor and Neymar himself denying any concern to the press after the game.
Brazil’s No. 10 was hugely relieved and was quick to put ice on his ankle and get back to work as soon as possible.
There were still reasons to worry for the Paris Saint-Germain star though as coaches within the Brazil setup predict that other teams will adapt the same tactics of going in hard on their ace to keep him quiet.
Off the record, they pointed to the injury he sustained in Brazil in 2014 when he suffered a spinal knock against Colombia in the quarter-final.
Only one Switzerland player was booked in the first half, to the surprise of many, and Brazilians have called for more protection for Neymar.
“We knew we had to be hard, aggressive and win our battles,” Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez admitted after the game.”
It is nothing new for the forward, having experienced similar in France in Ligue 1, but it’s something he would rather not be facing in Russia after a long injury lay-off however.