All Eyes on Brazil as Teams Battle for Soccer Supremacy

Colombia Defender Zuniga Apologizes to Neymar for Tackle

Neymar, Brazil's key player at the World Cup, fractured a vertebra in his back

Saturday, Jul 5, 2014  |  Updated 2:54 PM CDT
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Neymar of Brazil is challenged by Juan Camilo Zuniga of Colombia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between Brazil and Colombia at Castelao on July 4, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

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Colombia defender Camilo Zuniga has sent a letter of apology to Neymar, saying he is "deeply sorry and sad" for causing the injury that knocked the Brazil striker out of the World Cup.

"Although I feel the situation was normal in a game, there was no bad intention, malice or negligence on my part," Zuniga said Saturday in a statement released by the Colombian team.

Neymar, Brazil's key player at the World Cup, fractured a vertebra in his back late in Friday's 2-1 quarterfinal win and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks. Brazil plays Germany in a World Cup semifinal on Tuesday.

"I admire you, respect you and consider you one of the best players in the world," Zuniga wrote. "I hope you recover and return quickly."

Brazil great Ronaldo told a news conference Saturday that he thought "the injury was a very violent one," and added: "We could see on television there was an intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm."

Zuniga addressed part of his letter to Brazilian fans, many of whom have expressed anger at the Colombian and suggested he intended to injure Neymar.

"I send you (fans) a special message of thanks for all the support you showed to the Colombian team during every one of our games."

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