The young and talented AS Monaco midfielder James Rodriguez will guide the Colombia national team in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and his importance increases with the uncertainty of the recovery of injured star Radamel Falcao Garcia.
At 22, Rodriguez was ranked the third best player in the French league. With his powerful left, he achieves dream-like passes and finishes goalkeepers with strong kicks from distance.
But the Colombian, number ‘10’, is not just made up of talent but also titles, with his young age (turns 23 next July on the 12th), won the Torneo Ascenso 2014 with Envigado FC of Colombia, an Argentinean tournament with Banfield FC, and a UEFA Europa League, three Portuguese SuperCups, and three league titles and a Taça de Portugal with Oporto.
The career of the heir of Carlos 'el Pibe' Valderrama began at the age of 12 when the Academia Tolimense won the Pony Football Championship, a nationwide tournament of school kids.
Rodriguez, son of ex-soccer player of the national team of Colombian, James Rodriguez, made his professional debut in 2006 with Envigado FC (northwestern Colombia) in category B when he was 15, and a year later was promoted.
In 2008, he was transferred to Banfield of Argentina, being the youngest foreigner of all time to debut in Argentine football, and coached by Julio Cesar Falcioni, ex-goalkeeper, won the local tournament, the only one ever won for the club in its history.
After his successful stretch through the “gaucho” tournament, he arrived with Oporto in Portugal, for 7.3 million euros, where he met with his compatriots Falcao Garcia and Fredy Guarin, with whom he filled the club with many titles and successes.
Meanwhile, James shines the youth national teams of Colombia in 2007 when they made it to the round of 16 in the Under-17 World Cup in South Korea, the quarterfinals in the 2011 U-20 World Cup, and that same year he was champion of the Toulon Tournament in France, where he was named the best player of the tournament.
In May 2013, he came to AS Monaco of France for an amount close to 45 million euros, demonstrating a superb performance, and being one of the best players in the season of the team that qualified for the Champions League in Europe the following year.
He was also an essential piece to his country so they could return to a World Cup after 16 years of absence.
In the qualifiers for Brazil-2014, James Rodriguez played 15 of 16 games.
Married to Daniela Ospina, sister of goalkeeper David Ospina of the Colombia national team, and father of “little” Salome, Rodriguez is a family man, very mature for his age and a born winner.
"He is a full-time winner, and does not even like to lose in small talk," said Pilar Rubio, the mother of the young star.
That desire for triumphs and his undisputed talent make James Rodriguez the natural replacement for Falcao to take the Colombian flag in the quest to make the best of the World Cup for this South American country.