Colombian defender Juan Zuniga has discussed how he feared for his life after being involved in injuring Brazilian Neymar’s back.
The pair faced off in the quarter-final as the two South American sides battled for a place in the final four at the Brazil World Cup this summer.
Zuniga, who was involved in several tough tackles, came in hard on Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar, hurting his back and forcing the young forward to miss the rest of the tournament with a broken vertebra.
And, the Colombian defender’s father has revealed that he his son has received death threats since the tournament.
“After Colombia played Brazil at the Maracanà in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, he confessed that it was his dream to one day play in the Brazilian league,” his father Camilo Zuniga told Lancenet, as quoted in Football Espana.
“Now for the safety of himself and his family, that is no longer a possibility. We received threats via internet and phone.
“We spoke to the authorities and of course as a father I am worried. Some really crazy messages arrived, big threats, racist insults too.
“I am not just afraid for my son, but also his wife and little daughter. After what happened we have been accompanied by security guards, but I hope it will just be temporary and that soon we can resume a normal life.
“Neymar already absolved him of blame, my son did not do it on purpose. He is totally against violence and has no previous record of nasty fouls.
“Anyone who offends him doesn’t understand football, as there were many incorrect interpretations of that challenge. Injuries are part of football, my son apologised in public and explained himself.”