Colombia offers Zuniga security after insults over Neymar

Wed Jul 9, 2014 8:34pm EDT
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By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's football federation will provide security measures for defender Camilo Zuniga over threats he has received for a foul that ended Brazilian forward Neymar's World Cup, the ruling body said on Wednesday.

Zuniga's raised-knee challenge during a rough quarter-final when Brazil beat Colombia 2-1 left Neymar with a broken vertebra and out of the hosts' semi-final against Germany.

The 28-year-old right back, who plays his club football with Napoli, sent his best wishes for a speedy recovery to Neymar and said there was no ill intent in the clash.

But there was a vitriolic reaction in some quarters, especially from Brazil, where current and ex-players called the tackle "cowardly" and "evil."

Brazil fans have also taken to social media to berate him.

"The Colombian Football Federation rejects all threats and insults against the player Camilo Zuniga and his family," the national body said in a statement.

"It reiterates it will continue taking all actions with the appropriate security and government organs to give the necessary guarantees to the player, for both his time in Colombia and his permanent residency in Italy."

Zuniga is currently on holiday in Colombia after the team's wonderful World Cup run and is due to return to Italy in days.   Continued...

Brazil's Neymar (bottom) is fouled by Colombia's Camilo Zuniga during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo