Ronaldo condemns 'evil tackle' that put Neymar out of Cup

Jul 06 2014, 00:43 IST
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SummaryFormer Brazil striker Ronaldo has accused Colombia's Juan Zuniga of an "evil, violent" tackle that has put Neymar out of the World Cup and said on Saturday he favoured tougher sanctions against violent play.

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has accused Colombia's Juan Zuniga of an "evil, violent" tackle that has put Neymar out of the World Cup and said on Saturday he favoured tougher sanctions against violent play.

Ronaldo was at a FIFA briefing with ex-Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus and former Italy skipper Fabio Cannavaro and, while there was good-natured sparring ahead of Tuesday's semi-final between Brazil and Germany, he condemned defender Zuniga's foul.

"It was a very violent, unlawful tackle," said Ronaldo.

"We all have to fight for football to have more fair play. We have to demand that sanctions be given to violent players. I am in favour of very severe sanctions to those who don't want to play football and just want to do such violent tackles.

"It was an evil tackle," he added.

Zuniga damaged Neymar's third vertebra when he came rushing in from behind and kneed the Brazil forward in the back.

In a letter to Neymar and Brazilians on Saturday, Zuniga wished him a speedy recovery and insisted there was no ill will.

"I feel upset for this situation which came from a normal action in play, without ill intention, malice or imprudence on my part," he wrote.

Sympathisers, who note Zuniga was looking at the ball and not Neymar when he went into the challenge, say it was an unfortunate accident in a rough game with lax refereeing.

"I want to send you a special greeting, Neymar. I admire and respect you, and consider you one of the best players in the world," Zuniga added.

"I hope you recover and are back soon to keep cheering us up in a sport full of virtues and qualities that I've always practised in my 12 years as a professional."

Brazil's Ronaldo added that while the quality of refereeing at the World Cup had been generally good, the performance of Spaniard Carlos Velasco Carballo during Friday's quarter-final against Colombia, which Brazil won 2-1, did not impress him.

Carballo, a top UEFA Champions League referee, did not book anyone until there had been 41 fouls and, although Neymar was left in agony on the ground and quickly carried off on a stretcher, Zuniga was not booked for the incident.

NEYMAR HUNT?

"The referee lost his authority on the pitch," said Ronaldo although he disagreed with the comments by Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari, who said after the game that he thought the Colombians were "hunting" for Neymar.

"I don't believe there was a 'hunt' for

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