striker Neymar (left) sent flying by Diego Minaya of Peruvian side Juan
Aurich during their Copa Libertadores tie. But he still scored in the
Sao Paolo - Brazil striker Neymar feared for
his safety in the Copa Libertadores match against Peruvian club Juan
Aurich, comparing the game to an Ultimate Fighting Championship event.
Neymar said he was fouled hard
throughout the match, South America's equivalent of Europe's Champions
League, and would have ended up in a hospital if he had not avoided
contact on some occasions.
'If I hadn't jump in some ball disputes, I
wouldn't be talking to you right now, I would be in a hospital,' said
the 20-year-old after Santos' 2-0 victory on Thursday.
'It looked more like a UFC fight than a football match.'
Of the 16 fouls made by Juan Aurich at the
Pacaembu Stadium, half were on Neymar. Forward Herlyn Zuniga made one of
the worst, a feet-first sliding tackle halfway through the first half
that nearly turned the Brazilian upside down. Zuniga was given a yellow
Neymar - who scored Santos' second goal - was
not able to avoid another dangerous foul in the 85th, when Jorge Molina
came in sliding hard and hit his left ankle.
Argentine referee Patricio Loustau did not
whistle for a foul, indicating that Neymar dived, but the striker had to
go off the pitch briefly to be treated.
'The referees need to understand that I'm not jumping to try to get a foul, it's just to protect myself,' Neymar said
'They would have broken his leg if he didn't jump,' Santos coach Muricy Ramalho said.