Pele sends his support to Neymar, backs Brazil for World Cup title
JUL 05, 2014 11:22a ET
Pele has sent his support to Neymar after the attacker's World Cup was ended by injury, although the Brazilian great does not believe his absence will stop the hosts from winning the tournament.
The hosts and favorites disposed of Colombia 2-1 in an enthralling battle at the Estadio Castelao on Friday, setting-up a semi-final clash with Germany.
However, progression was tainted by injury to key man Neymar, who left the field on a stretcher in the closing stages after taking a knee in the back from Juan Zuniga.
The 22-year-old was in tears and left the stadium on a drip, with Brazil doctor Rodrigo Lasmar quickly confirming he has sustained a fractured vertebra that will end his World Cup.
That news has shaken the hosts but Pele does not believe the injury to Neymar will end their chances of glory, pointing to his own experience in 1962.
"@neymarjr was raised in my @santosfc and it hurts our hearts to know that he can no longer defend Brazil in the World Cup," he said.
"I was also injured during the 1962 World Cup in Chile, and I was out for the rest of the tournament, but God helped Brazil continue on to win the Championship.
"I hope the same will happen with our Selecao in this World Cup."
Pele posted his support on Twitter where many other high-profile figures have expressed their sympathy, varying from basketball player LeBron James to Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen and the country's president Dilma Rousseff.
Former Selecao players Roberto Carlos, Kaka and Gilberto Silva have sent supportive messages, while Neymar's international team-mates have also taken to social media.
Brazil and Chelsea midfielder Willian tweeted: "Have strength brother. @neymarjr we are together with you, we love you."
Selecao striker Jo and midfielder Paulinho had similar messages, while Fred's lengthy Facebook post included a drawing of Neymar being surrounded by fans.
"We have one more reason to play with heart in this cup," Fred said.
"Neymar, rest assured that our group loves you and give life to win this title for you. You were and continue to be the ace and the soul of our team.
"The whole of Brazil is praying for you!"