James David Rodríguez Rubio (born 12 July 1991), known as James Rodríguez, is a Colombian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and captains the Colombia national team as an attacking midfielder or winger. James is commonly ranked as one of the best young players in the world. He is praised for his technique, vision and playmaking skills, and often referred as the successor to his compatriot Carlos Valderrama.
James became well known in Europe during his time at Porto, winning several trophies and individual awards during his three years at the club. In 2014, James moved from AS Monaco to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of €80 million, which beats the one set by Radamel Falcao and makes him the most expensive Colombian football player and one of the most expensive players in football.
Once considered to be among the best young players in the world, James can play in several positions across the midfield, having played as a playmaker, a winger, and a central midfielder for both club and country, though in an interview, he stated his main preference as an attacking midfielder. Praised for his technical skills, vision, and his ability to create chances for team-mates as a playmaker, James’ performance in Argentina led to comparisons with the famous Colombian footballer Carlos Valderrama; Valderrama himself declared James as his “successor”.
Although naturally left-footed, James has shown ambidexterity in his dribbling and style of play. His goal scoring abilities were a highlight of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he managed to claim the Golden Boot despite Colombia’s elimination in the quarter finals. He is also an accurate free kick taker, and a goal threat from anywhere outside the area.
He started his international career with the Colombian under-20 team, with which he won the 2011 Toulon Tournament. He then captained the U-20 team during the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Due to his performance in the tournament, he was regularly called into the senior squad by the age of 20. He played in the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he won the Golden Boot as the top goalscorer and was part of the Cup’s All Star Team.
During his early days playing in South America, James was approached by Adidas head scout Claus Peter Meyer. He featured occasionally in various adverts for Adidas as well as the Colombian beverage “Pony Malta”; Nestle drink, “Milo”; and the shampoo brand “Clear”. After the 2014 World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top goal scorer with six goals, Adidas took advantage of James’ increased exposure and issued him his own custom gold boots to celebrate his achievement and increase the brands on pitch association with their new star asset.
James was called up to represented Colombia at the 2015 Copa América in Chile, where his team were eliminated 5–4 on penalties by eventual finalists Argentina on 27 June, following a 0–0 draw.
The following summer, James was named to Colombia’s squad for the Copa América Centenario and was named the team’s captain.
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