The man of the moment… JAMES RODRIGUEZ
James Rodriquez, the 22 year-old Colombian sensation, has been the star performer at this year’s World Cup. But who is he? Here’s our list of the top ten things you need to know about football’s latest superstar.
10. James started his professional career at the tender age of 16 with Colombian minnows Envigado F.C, a club that has a reputation for successfully nurturing young talent. In recent years the club has produced notable names including Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin and former Valencia winger Dorlan Pabon.
9. In 2011 James, playing for the Colombia under-20 team, was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the 2011 Toulon Tournament. He scored two goals and provided three assists, while he also scored in the penalty shootout that saw Colombia defeat France in the competition’s final
8. At the age of 20, following a move to Portuguese giants Porto, James won the Portuguese Golden Ball Award, an accolade that recognises that season’s best player.
7. Sporting a somewhat unusual name for a player from South America, James was actually named after fictional spy James Bond
6. He has already been voted as man of the match in 3 of Colombia’s World Cup 2014 games. In the other game he started on the bench (but still managed to get on the scoresheet)
5. Colombian hero and hairstyle pioneer Carlos Valderrama said of James: “[he’s] got more passion than any other player I’ve seen in all my years of playing and coaching professional football. James has the potential to be the greatest Colombian player to have ever lived.” That’s quite the compliment.
4. In 2013 (at the age of just 21) Rodriquez joined Monaco in a €45 deal, making him the second most expensive transfer in Portuguese football
3. James is the first player to score in a country’s first four games at a World Cup since (fat) Ronaldo and (normal sized) Rivaldo at the 2002 competition in South Korea and Japan
2. Following Colombia’s impressive 2-0 victory over Uruguay, Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez likened James to Maradona, saying they both “have certain gifts that make them special.”
1. His first name is pronounced ‘HAMEZ’, not James!