Neymar and Football’s Theatre of the Absurd


Neymar and Football’s Theatre of the Absurd

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander


t is July 4, 2014. Brazil and Colombia are facing each other in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. In the seventh minute, Neymar steps up to take a corner. Thiago Silva scores at the far post. Brazil goes on to win the match 2-1. The nation goes berserk.

But the most crucial moment of the match happens in the 82nd minute. Neymar is about to control the ball with a deft touch when Zuniga, the Colombian right back, smashes into his back with a raised knee. Muay Thai style. The crunch of the third vertebra is only heard by one man, Neymar. He writhes on the floor in agony. Marcelo rushes to him and immediately calls for the doctor. Neymar says he wants to play on. But suddenly he realises that he cannot move his feet. The same feet which dance around defenders leaving them in heaps. The feet which hypnotise the football. They are refusing to listen to him. Neymar is stretchered off and taken to the hospital. Doctors tell him that two centimetres to the left and he would never have walked again.