- 5'10" (1.80m)
- 174 lbs (79 kg)
- July 12, 1991
The golden boy of Colombian football and the latest in a long line of Galacticos, James Rodriguez joined Real Madrid for 80 million euros in July 2014. After an outstanding 2014 World Cup in Brazil, James joined an elite list of superstars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham when Real Madrid decided to make the 5-foot-10 playmaker their new No. 10.
Rodriguez spent his youth career with Colombian second division outfit Envigado, but was soon snapped up by Buenos Aires-based club Banfield. He made his debut for Banfield in 2008, spending three seasons with the Argentine outfit, before Portuguese giants FC Porto forked out over 5 million euros to bring the young Colombian to Europe. James' stock was unquestionably on the rise, and the playmaker's hat trick in the 2011 Taca de Portugal final only heightened the excitement surrounding the youngster.
James' second season in Portugal was even more impressive, as the attacking midfielder contributed 14 goals and 11 assists to his team's cause while being named the LFLP best breakthrough player at the age of 20. His final campaign in Europe saw him lift a third successive title with Porto and, despite a season disrupted by injury, the attacker's goal tally still broke double figures, leading to reported interest from Manchester United.
It was Monaco, however, that would be the next step in James' career, with the wealthy French side splashing out 45 million euros to bring him to France. James' upward rise continued and the new arrival was widely recognised as one of the best players in Ligue 1 during 2013-14 as he helped Monaco secure the return of Champions League football for the first time since 2006.
It was on the world stage in Brazil 2014 when he announced himself fully, though, as his six goals were enough to claim the Golden Boot. James formed an integral part of an exciting Colombia attack that so nearly overcame hosts Brazil in the quarterfinals, and scored the goal of the tournament in the knockout stage clash with Uruguay; expertly controlling the ball on his chest before exquisitely volleying home from the edge of the area.
Strengths: James' pinpoint passing accuracy, incredible vision and selfless nature make him an accomplished playmaker capable of crafting plenty of opportunities for his teammates. Make no mistake, however, James is also capable of finding the net himself, as demonstrated by his six goals in Brazil. The influential youngster also has a frightening turn of pace and is an expert in dead ball situations.
Weaknesses: As demonstrated with his performance against Brazil, James can struggle to impact a game when physical pressure is exerted. His temperament will improve with age, but frustration can sometimes get the better of him.
Career high: In the 2014 World Cup, James inspired his Colombian teammates to the quarterfinal stages. He scored six goals and provided two assists across the tournament and was nominated for the Golden Ball award.
Career low: Just before he left Banfield he impressed in the Copa Libertadores campaign of 2010, but his side crashed out after he was red-carded against Brazilian side SC Internacional.
Style: Quick, clever, a visionary midfielder with an eye for goal.
Quotes: "You just wanted to see him have the ball, and when you want somebody to have the ball it is always a sign of exceptional quality, and he definitely has that." Arsene Wenger on James' impressive World Cup, July 2014
Trivia: James became the fourth-most expensive player of all time behind only Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez when he was signed by Real Madrid in July 2014. He is also the brother-in-the-law of Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.
|Real Madrid||H - AS Roma||Jul 29, 2014||Champions Cup||L 0-1||Unused Substitute|
|Colombia||A - Brazil||Jul 4, 2014||WC||L 2-1||Started||1||0||2||2||2||6||1||0|
|Colombia||H - Uruguay||Jun 28, 2014||WC||W 2-0||Started||2||0||4||4||3||0||0||0|
|Colombia||A - Japan||Jun 24, 2014||WC||W 1-4||Sub-On 46.0||1||2||3||3||1||2||0||0|
|Colombia||H - Ivory Coast||Jun 19, 2014||WC||W 2-1||Started||1||0||2||2||3||0||0||0|
|Colombia||H - Greece||Jun 14, 2014||WC||W 3-0||Started||1||0||6||5||1||4||0||0|