The Rio Report

Sickening! Argentina fans taunt Brazil’s Neymar with ‘spinal cord’ chants

The Rio Report


Argentina fans chant about Neymar by Genizah

Argentina fans were not sharing the sentiments of their national coach Alejandro Sabella as they mocked injured Brazil star Neymar a day after he was ruled out of the World Cup.

Some Argentina fans were caught on camera hoisting a plastic spinal column in the air clearly mocking the Brazilian forward who was flown to Sao Paulo by helicopter on Saturday to begin recovery from his sickening injury.

Tournament poster boy Neymar suffered a broken vertebrae during the host country's 2-1 win over fellow South American side Colombia in the quarter-finals on Friday after being kneed in the back by hardy Napoli defender Juan Zuniga.

The reaction to the fans' conduct has been overwhelmingly one of outrage and disgust while some pointed out that the Brazil fans were not entirely blameless given how they reacted.

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While Sabella said "football had shed a tear" over the Barcelona forward's horrific injury, Argentina supporters were out celebrating as they took another step towards a third World Cup triumph with a 1-0 win over Belgium on Saturday.

"When I played football, I was a skilful No 10..so I like to see football played well...I am delighted by great players," said Sabella.

"When a team loses a player of such great qualities, it's as if football has shed a tear."

If Brazil beat Germany on Tuesday evening, and Argentina overcome the Netherlands a day later, the two bitter rivals will clash in the final Rio de Janeiro next Sunday for football's biggest prize.

There could be plenty of bad blood in that match judging by some of the unsavoury conduct going on amongst fans.

Meanwhile, Neymar released a video message yesterday to his supporters worldwide.

"One feels sad, not just as a coach and but as a spectator," said Sabella.

"The worst thing that can happen to a player is to get injured, especially at a crucial moment of a World Cup which he has been dreaming about for so long, and working towards for so long.

"So I can well understand the sense of bitterness and of frustration that he must be feeling.

"I'd like to send a hug and say that I am with him in this difficult moment."

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