Thứ Sáu, 6 tháng 11, 2015

Sergio Ramos' Photoshopped picture gets social networks buzzing

Sergio Ramos has set the social networks alight again, by sharing an image of the team after Madrid's 1-0 win over PSG on Tuesday night. 
There you could see Ramos, James Rodriguez, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Cheryshev, Danilo and Lucas Vázquez happy and posing in the locker room after the victory. So far, everything in order.
However, with Photoshop, he put a strategically placed ball between the legs of James Rodriguez to save the Colombian star's dignity. 
See the photo yourself here: 

Benitez will not take any risks with James Rodriguez

The Colombian midfielder returns to the squad for Tuesday night's match with Paris Saint-Germain after nearly two months out of action. 

Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez says he will not take any risks with James Rodriguez. 
However, Benitez insists that there shouldn't be too much emphasis place on him.
"James is better," the former Liverpool manager told a press conference on Monday. 
"He's a player that has now gone a long time without playing with the teamafter his relapse. 
"He is still lacking match fitness, but he's available, although that does not mean he can start playing 90 minutes." 
Benitez added that Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale -- who will both miss the visit of PSG -- are on track with their respective recoveries. 
However, they are not quite ready to be thrown into the action on Tuesday. 
They could, possibly, be back in the squad for Sunday's trip to Sevilla, though.

Thứ Bảy, 12 tháng 9, 2015

The mafioso who kickstarted James Rodriguez’s soccer career

Colombia’s James Rodriguez, now a renowned soccer player for Spanish club Real Madrid, was first scouted and trained by a crime lord and former partner of Pablo Escobar.
Today James is one of the highest earning soccer players worldwide, which was perhaps made possible due to the keen eye of organized crime lord Gustavo Upegui who was the first to spot the players’ talent.
According to a report by Las 2 Orillas, Upegui, the man responsible for Rodriguez’s success at such a young age, was renowned in the 1990s as chief of the Office of Envigado, an enforcement arm of Escobar’s Medellin Cartel.
As was the fashion among other infamous drug lords at the time, Upegui decided to buy the Envigado soccer club, a modest second division Colombian team next to Medellin. His plan was to scout for young talent who he could then bring onboard to revitalize the club.
Out of the players who were scouted, Rodriguez was the most significant, however, others included Fredy Guarin, Juan Fernando Quintero and Dorlan Parbon.
The 24-year-old mid-fielder James was born in the northeastern Colombian city of Cucuta. Upegui first saw James play, however, in the 2003 Pony Championships, soccer competition for under 13-year-old youths in Medellin. The 11-year-old James was snapped up by Upegui as soon as the game he was playing in ended, but not before a deal was made with his parents.
Maria del Pilar Rubio, Rodriguez’s mother, and stepfather Juan Carlos, agreed that Upegui could train their son at Independiente Medellin to then try him as a professional soccer player for the Envigado club, but on the condition that the capo would move the family from Ibague, where they were living at the time, to Medellin.
Upegui met their requests, and then some. The family were put up in a “good apartment,” right next door to the El Dorado soccer field where the team practiced, and Rubio and Restrepo were sorted out with jobs.
Although it was clear that the young boy had talent, Independiente Medellin were concerned that his small stature would be a hindrance, so gave up on him, leaving Upegui as the owner of the player’s rights.
Upegui was not discouraged by the teen’s small stature because he had already thought of the solution: steroids.
While 14-year-old Rodriguez was becoming a dedicated player, committed to his training, with big aspirations keeping him focused, Upegui was getting more and more entangled in the Office of Envigado world of kidnapping and extortion. At one point he became so powerful, be became known as the “Mayor of Envigado.”
In 2006, 14-year-old James was ready to debut his professional career. Under the firm instruction of Upegui, coach Hugh Gallego handed over the orange, number 10 shirt in January of that year, where the player launched his successful professional career playing a match against his birth city’s Cucuta Deportivo team.
While Rodriguez’s career grew by leaps and bounds, Upegui’s met its end in a way that was typical to his career choice.
In February 2006, the crime boss and soccer club owner was shot dead by 8 assassins dressed as policemen who “raided” his home. Daniel Mejia, his rival in the Office of Envigado, met the same fate 2 months later for making the decision without the approval of the cartel.
Following the demise of Upegui, under the supervision of his mother, Rodriguez flew to Buenos Aires to try his luck, where he ended up playing for Bansfield, where, at the age of 18, he lifted the Argentinian Football Association trophy.
In a recent publication, Restrepo, Rodriguez’s step father recognized that “the only one to believe in us was Don Gustavo Upegui.”

James Rodriguez promises Real Madrid fans he will come back stronger as thigh injury rules him out of action for a month

Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez has taken to Instagram and vowed to return to action stronger after a torn thigh muscle ruled him out for up to a month.

The 24-year-old sustained a thigh injury during Colombia's friendly against Peru in New Jersey on Tuesday, with initial estimates suggesting the knock was not serious.

However, scans on Thursday revealed the former Monaco man could miss three to four weeks of action, although the player is optimistic for a quick recovery.

James Rodriguez poses in a bathtub on his Instagram account as he promises to return stronger from injury
James Rodriguez poses in a bathtub on his Instagram account as he promises to return stronger from injury

He said: "In my mind is only coming back more strong. Coming back stronger!"

In the image James is posing topless in a bath tub with two thumbs up while grinning at the camera.

The Colombian star could miss up to seven fixtures in all competitions for Real, including Champions League ties with Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo, as well as a La Liga derby with Atletico Madrid at the start of October.

Full-back and summer signing Danilo also returned from the international break with an injury that will rule him out for a month.

The Colombian midfielder sustained the injury while on international duty in a friendly against Peru on Tuesday
The Colombian midfielder sustained the injury while on international duty in a friendly against Peru on Tuesday

Real Madrid star could miss up to seven club games including Champions League fixtures and Madrid derby

Real Madrid star could miss up to seven club games including Champions League fixtures and Madrid derby

Thứ Hai, 17 tháng 8, 2015

Real's Benitez seeking balance between defence and attack

In his first season in charge at Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez faces a delicate balancing act between allowing his formidable attack the freedom to perform and preventing opponents exploiting any defensive weakness.

MADRID: In his first season in charge at Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez faces a delicate balancing act between allowing his formidable attack the freedom to perform and preventing opponents exploiting any defensive weakness.

Benitez, who joined Real from Napoli following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti at the end of last season, has gained a reputation as a defensive coach during stints at clubs including Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
But with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Isco in his ranks, he must satisfy the desire of the demanding Real fans for spectacular attacking football without sacrificing the solidity in midfield and at the back that Real were sometimes missing last term.
Benitez, who trained in the Real academy as a boy and went on to coach the club's youth teams, has returned home to sign a three-year contract but will be well aware that failure to win major silverware in his debut season will not be tolerated.
"I know what the supporters want: good football and victories," Benitez said in an interview with Spanish daily El Pais published on Monday.
"This team scores a lot of goals and has to continue scoring them but we have also conceded them and we have to correct that," added the 55-year-old.
"If I have an offensive team I will go on the attack and if I have to make changes I will make them.
"But what Madrid has to do is score more goals than the opponent and try not to let them score any."
Real begin their latest La Liga campaign at promoted Sporting Gijon on Sunday and will be trying to prevent champions and great rivals Barcelona winning a sixth Spanish title in eight years.
Benitez said some of the keys to Real's tactics will be pressuring opponents high up the pitch and allowing the forwards freedom to switch positions depending on the situation.
"Our idea is to have the ball and know what to do with it," he said. "And when we don't have it, knowing how we are going to get it back and where.
"The team needs to improve in defence but starting up front. That does not mean the forwards need to drop back but that they need to press high to win the ball back as quickly as possible and be closer to the opposition goal."

Sergio Ramos Real Madrid contract: Spanish giants agree new five-year deal for captain

REAL Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a new five-year deal with the Spanish giants, the club confirmed on Monday.
Ramos had been courted by Manchester United during a standoff in negotiations between his representatives and Madrid president Florentino Perez over the Spanish international’s salary with his previous deal set to expire in 2017.
However, the club said in a statement he will remain “tied to the club for the next five seasons.” Both Ramos and Perez will appear at a press conference to mark the renewal at 1:30pm local time at the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
According to Spanish media reports, Ramos will earn up to 10 million euros (AU$15m) a season.
United and Madrid have been locked in transfer talks all summer with Real still hopeful of landing Ramos’s international teammate David de Gea before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
Ramos is now Madrid’s longest serving player having signed from Sevilla 10 years ago as a 19-year-old and will be club captain for the first time this season after Iker Casillas’s 18-year career at the Bernabeu came to an end when he joined Porto last month.
Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos.
Despite holding an unwanted record as the Madrid player to have seen most red cards in the history of the club with a staggering 19 dismissals, Ramos is a hero among the Real support and is most fondly remembered for scoring the goal that saved Los Blancos from losing the 2014 Champions League final to local rivals Atletico Madrid.
His stoppage time header forced the game into extra-time where the white half of Madrid went onto dominate and run out 4-1 winners to complete his own personal repertoire of honours, which also includes three La Liga titles and two Copa del Reys as well as the World Cup and two European Championships at international level with Spain.
By committing to stay at the Bernabeu, Ramos has offered a huge lift to a Real side in need of a confidence boost ahead of the kick-off to the La Liga campaign next weekend.
Ramos was among a host of high-profile first-team players also including Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez who showed their discontent at the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti in May.
The appointment of Rafael Benitez as Ancelotti’s successor was met with scepticism by the vast majority of the club’s fans and Perez has unusually decided against the lavish signing of a “galactico” this summer, instead settling for a deeper and younger squad.
However, without the injured Ronaldo, Benitez’s men have struggled in pre-season, failing to score in four of their seven friendlies so far.
Madrid begin their league campaign away to newly promoted Sporting Gijon on August 23.

Chủ Nhật, 2 tháng 8, 2015

Awaiting James with open arms

Awaiting James with open arms
Rafa Benítez is missing a single piece from his puzzle, a key one that will boost the whole team once fitted into place.
James Rodríguez has just celebrated his one-year anniversary at the club, during which he has become a pivotal member of the team to the extent that the Real Madrid side competing in China will bear little resemblance to next season's until the Colombian touches down.
James will be the last player to report for pre-season and the final component of Benítez's starting eleven, barring any possible new signings. The 24 year old is capable of playing in several positions: he can boost the attack during barren spells and protect the defence when under pressure. The left-footed player will be the team's transformer who will put Benítez's intentions into practice and ensure they constantly play with the appropriate style.
Both Benítez and the club know that James must be one of the symbols of the team. His performance in his debut season was worthy of praise as his ability and productivity on the pitch correspond with what he achieves off it. The Colombian has become a money-making machine for 'Los Blancos', especially in South America, where the club did not previously enjoy a dominant position.
Although the transfer fee paid to Monaco was above James's market value at the time, the deal became profitable within a few months to the point where his worth has already reached the €80 million that Real Madrid paid for him.
The midfielder is yet to sport a club training kit so far this season, but that does not mean he has neglected his physical shape in any way. His new coach is already impressed with his professionalism and is said to be counting down the hours until James will be available.
Both supporters and club management were delighted with the player's first season in Madrid and are excited to see him return to action. 'Los Merengues' know they have a gem in their grasp, one that could be for life. The Real Madrid number 10 only recently turned 24, meaning he still has his best years ahead of him. There is now not long to go until the Colombian can meet his new coach in person and look to build on his impressive CV.

My best friend's wedding

My best friend's weddingToday is a day of celebration for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes and his partner, Sandra Barbosa, are tying the knot at the São João Baptista church, located in Foz, an affluent residential part of Porto. The forward will serve as the best man for the ceremony, which will be attended by 400 people.

Where the reception is concerned, the couple have chosen the facilities at the Serralves Foundation, one of Portugal's most prestigious museums. The most important agent in the football world has forked out almost €100,000 to rent the gardens at the foundation and have them completely closed off to the public eye, so that the legion of guests can enjoy the event in total privacy without worrying about the paparazzi.

Mendes is one of the richest men in Portugal, with a fortune believed to be in excess of €100 million. Small wonder, then, that the power broker has spared no expense on his second nuptials.

The 49-year-old and Barbosa, who have three children together, are getting married at the altar having previously wed in a civil ceremony in 2005.

Cristiano is not expected to be the only Mendes client in attendance, not by a long shot: the likes of James Rodríguez, Pepe, Radamel Falcao, José Mourinho and Jorge Jesus are all on the guest list. Other leading football personalities invited include Florentino Pérez, Roman Abramovich, Peter Lim and Joan Laporta.

Real Madrid vs AC Milan, International Champions Cup: 3 things to watch for

After beating Inter Milan last Monday, Real Madrid will play its last game in China against the rossoneri from AC Milan to try and conquer the Chinese edition of the International Champions Cup. The full roster is available for this game and, since James Rodríguez has had enough training since his arrival, it is the first chance for Rafa Benítez to configure a lineup without any restriction.
Three things to watch for:
  1. Will we see a different system? In the previous three games, Real Madrid base system was a 4-2-3-1, that evolved into a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-4-2 in certain moments of the game. However, the rumors about Rafa Benítez not being totally fond of Karim Benzema and the recent incorporation of James Rodríguez suggest that we could see a pure 4-4-2 tomorrow, with Ronaldo and Bale upfront, and Isco and James on the wings. We will see.
  2. Does Real Madrid need a new left-back? Marcelo has been a starter in the previous three games of the pre-season, and is the only player in the roster that does not have a clear backup (Coentrao stayed in Madrid with another injury to add to his long list and is claimed to be leaving Real Madrid soon, while Arbeloa and Nacho are not serious options). Perhaps it is time to see whether Denis Cheryshev can perform as a left-back before deciding if a new one is needed.
  3. Is Jesé ready to be important for Real Madrid? Big Flow left an extraordinary performance and a magnificent goal against Inter Milan on Monday, which proves he has enough talent to be a fantastic bench player for Real Madrid, but Los Blancosneed him to be consistent as well. For a player of his type, it is hard to deliver when you don't have many minutes, but Rafa Benítez's rotation policy should suffice for Jesé to show what he is able to do and to be a determining factor for Real Madrid this season.

Isco vs James: let the battle recommence

Isco vs James: let the battle recommence

Competition comes with the territory in all walks of life and, in the football world, benefits the team and fans alike. James Rodríguez and Isco are vying for a single spot in Rafa Benítez's Real Madrid side, and the pre-season action has made it clear that when the shoe is not on one foot, it is on the other.

With the BBC in place, there is only room for three midfielders, two of whom - Luka Modric and Toni Kroos - look nailed-on starters. James appears to be slightly ahead in the pecking order, but Isco is gunning to raise his game and win over his new coach.

The stats from last season make interesting reading. The Spaniard actually made more appearances (53 to the Colombian's 46), although it must be remembered that both James and Gareth Bale had spells on the sidelines, which opened the doors to the former Málaga man. Where minutes are concerned, there isn't much in it: James clocked up 3,507 to Isco's 3,755.

Such healthy competition is par for the course at a club as demanding as Real Madrid. Karim Benzema's battle with Gonzalo Higuaín and Fábio Coentrão's challenge to Marcelo are just two recent examples of positions where players have had to earn their berth. Isco is well aware of James's ability, but is hopeful that he can play an important role under Benítez, a coach famed for his love of rotation.

Why 4-2-3-1 Should Be Go-to Formation for Rafa Benitez's Real Madrid in 2015-16

Why 4-2-3-1 Should Be Go-to Formation for Rafa Benitez's Real Madrid in 2015-16 
It was an image designed to stir optimism, Real Madrid using the most modern of methods to convey a message, an idea. On June 3, the club took to its official Twitter account to communicate its news that Rafa Benitez had been appointed as manager, releasing a graphic of the Spaniard that, in essence, attempted to explain why he'd been hired. 
Accompanied by trophies and the names of his previous stops was a side-on picture of his head. Splashed across it were tactical diagrams; all Xs and Os, dotted lines, bending arrows and the outline of a formation. The intended message was obvious: Real Madrid had signed the tactical mind they needed. 
Naturally, the cynics will argue Benitez isn't the man Real wanted, but simply the only man Real could get. The optimists, meanwhile, might feel that, while he's far from perfect, his intense, strong-willed approach will address one of the club's shortcomings last term: a lack of systematic balance. And they have a point. 
Under Carlo Ancelotti last season, a campaign that commenced so brightly burned out steadily. Pinpointing exactly where it went wrong is difficult; the contributing factors were heavily intertwined, issues such as key injures, fatigue, a lack of rotation, a skewed squad balance and a gradual evaporation of chemistry all unfolding concurrently. What started the rot? Which factor came first? Did the fatigue cause the injuries or did injuries cause the fatigue? The questions are the chicken-and-egg sort. 
However, if you examine Real Madrid's unravelling in 2014-15 from a broader perspective, the club's problems stemmed from an over-reliance on sheer talent and the neglect of sound footballing principles. Consider Ancelotti's 4-3-3 formation: The system was spearheaded by three superstar forwards, a trio backed-up by three more attacking talents in midfield. 
At its best, such a lineup was jaw-dropping, oozing flair, power and swagger in an attacking cocktail that prompted this writer to ask whether Ancelotti's team might redefine the way we perceive systematic and positional balance. At the time, the possibilities felt endless. But realities quickly kicked in.  
Instead of changing our view of the principles underpinning success, what Los Blancos had stumbled upon was a recipe of tiny margins: At 100 percent it was remarkable; at 99 percent it didn't work. With a balance that was all too precarious, Madrid didn't have any wriggle room—room for error. Either they were devastating or devastated, a plethora of performances sitting at either end of the spectrum but with little in between.
Think of the contrast between the outings against Liverpool andSchalke; Granada and Real Sociedad; Barcelona (the first time) and Atletico Madrid. There was a boom-or-bust feel to it all by the end. 
Essentially, it's that broad theme that Benitez needs to change. He needs to take this Real Madrid outfit away from the fine-tuning perils of a Formula One car and more toward the greater reliability of an all-rounder. His formation will be central to that. 
A strong advocate of the 4-2-3-1, Benitez will look to add a greater sense of two-way commitment at the Bernabeu, striving for a balance between defence and attack that was absent at various junctures last term. Certainly, his history as a defensive schemer has many doubting his ability to oversee the fluid attacking machine the club craves, but there are two important points to consider here: First, encouraging signs have existed thus far in pre-season, and second, this is a Real Madrid outfit that doesn't need help to score. 
This is a team that possesses Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, KarimBenzema and James Rodriguez; a team that was the most prolific in Europe last season; a team that put together scorelines of 9-1, 8-2 and 7-3. Benitez can trust he already has the firepower; Real Madrid aren't an outfit needing attacking improvements. Instead, it's going the other way that remains the point of focus. 
In that regard, the 55-year-old's characteristic 4-2-3-1 makes a lot of sense. Behind a sparkling attacking quartet, the presence of a two-man midfield pivot should add a dash of conservatism to the XI, Benitez's only choice being whom he chooses to deploy there. 
In primary consideration will be Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, the silky pairing who were often present for Real's best football last season. In a sense, their partnership in a 4-2-3-1 would be similar to the one they formed in the 4-4-2 Ancelotti switched to at times in 2014-15. So why not use that?
Essentially, such a shape forces Bale into a peripheral existence, shunting him to the side of a four-man midfield and quelling his goal threat. Having cost €100 million, Bale can't be that sort of afterthought, and president Florentino Perez will make sure he isn't. 
Thus, the 4-2-3-1 is the obvious system to turn to after the demise of a 4-3-3 that needed the gut-busting running of Angel Di Maria and the positional awareness of Xabi Alonso to function optimally. It's also a system that provides natural positions for Real's supporting cast: Iscois a born-and-bred No. 10, Casemiro and Asier Illarramendi will plug nicely into the midfield pivot to add a defensive edge, Lucas Vazquez and Denis Cheryshev are neat fits for the wide berths and Jese looks an appropriate understudy for Benzema up front.
Benitez's favoured system, therefore, looks to be conveniently suitable for his latest club, catering to both the squad's composition and the team's primary need. After a 4-3-3 that was dynamic but fragile, explosive but ultimately flawed, the Spaniard's 4-2-3-1 can help to bring a sense of balance to a side that has lacked that very commodity. 
The idea will be to give Real Madrid some margin for error, to minimise the difference between Los Blancos' best and worst. For Benitez will know that all Real's firepower needs is a complementary dose of sound footballing principles—the sort their previous system threatened to redefine but only ended up proving.

Thứ Hai, 27 tháng 7, 2015

adidas Malaysia ties up with Twitter for #therewillbehaters campaign

Sports apparel brand adidas launched a digital campaign in a bid to engage its audience and involve them in their #ThereWillBeHaters campaign. The campaign was aimed at generating awareness of adidas’ latest line of There Will Be Haters football boots in Malaysia.
The strategy
To launch the ‘There Will Be Haters’ collection of football boots, adidas created a #ThereWillBeHaters video and a series of stills that star some of the most ‘hated’ football players: Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema. The video illustrates exactly how, why and what the haters hate about these global stars: their outstanding achievements on the field of play and the cleats that drive these incredible performances. “They hate your shiny new boots. They hate your boots, because they wish they were in them.”
@adidasMY ran a Promoted Account, and kick-started the campaign with a video card in Promoted Tweets, to build awareness and start a conversation around their #ThereWillBeHaters video.  
Steps to successSharing its strategy for the @adidasMY success, adidas laid out three steps on how it executed the digital campaign.
Step 1: Pick the right targeting @adidasMY reached out to football fans in Malaysia, targeting select football-related keywords.
Step 2: Working with ‘Power Users’ to amplify the message, @adidasMY sustained the momentum with a series of images showing the football stars with copy underlining why #ThereWillBeHaters. 
Step 3: Eye-catching copy
@adidasMY kept up the kinetic energy with a series of Tweets showcasing the new line of There Will Be Haters football boots.
The results
In just three weeks, the @adidasMY campaign received 1.8 million impressions for an average cost per view of $0.05. “Twitter has proven to deliver high click-through rates in the past, and this time was no different – our campaign received 1.8 million impressions in just three weeks,” said Samantha Chan, brand manager, adidas Malaysia.
The use of video to kick-start the campaign gave a big boost: 5,385 Retweets for the #ThereWillBeHaters promo video. The results reinforce Twitter users’ preference for a seamless video viewing experience. An earlier analysis of Twitter internal data found that native video on Twitter drives more overall engagement than third party videos shared on Twitter: 2.5X replies, 2.8X Retweets and 1.9X Favorites.

The three key results achieved were:
-1.8 million Impressions
-$0.05 Average CPV (cost per view)
-4.93% Peak Engagement Rate (average rate is 1% – 2%).

Result: Jese, Raphael Varane, James Rodriguez score as Real Madrid beat Inter Milan

Real Madrid have secured a 3-0 triumph over Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup thanks to goals from Jese Rodriguez, Raphael Varane and James Rodriguez in China.
Both sides launched out of the gates on the front foot, with players at either end of the pitch creating goalscoring chances within the first 10 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo had two significant opportunities to get on the scoresheet in the first half, but his finishing let him down on one occasion and the other was denied by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 29th minute when Jese picked up a pass from Marcelo before sliding the ball into the back of the net.
Inter ended the first half attacking, but it was Madrid who came out firing early in the second half of the pre-season friendly after making a host of changes to the lineup.
Isco tried his luck by getting in position before sending a curling effort towards the bottom corner of the goal, but Juan Jesus made a vital block to prevent the ball from bobbling past.
Seconds later, Russian winger Denis Cheryshev, who made his senior debut in 2012, combined with Isco before unleashing a thumping shot towards goal, but his effort soared over the crossbar.
In the 57th minute, Real celebrated a second goal when Varane, who was positioned in the area after staying forward following a free kick, volleyed the ball into the back of the net from close range.
The soaring temperatures and the numerous team changes from both sides caused the game to slow down significantly in the second half.
Inter's Fredy Guarin found himself with the ball after latching on to Samuele Longo's pass, but his shot at goal failed to trouble the keeper as the ball flew well wide of the post.
Neither side posed many serious threats in the closing stages of the match until Rodriguez came close from a free kick, but Handanovic was in place to make a save.
Seconds later, though, Rodriguez got another chance from a set piece and whipped the ball into the top corner to give his side a comprehensive victory in Guangzhou.

Real Madrid strength in depth already better under Rafa Benitez

Jese and Casemiro look solid replacements for the first XI.
It is still too early to draw significant conclusions, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism after manager Rafa Benitez's Real Madrid side saw off Manchester City 4-1 on Friday in Melbourne, Australia.
Aside from the obvious plus points -- a smiling Cristiano Ronaldo on the score sheet, Luka Modric back in the engine room, and a strong defence giving goalkeeper Keylor Navas a watching brief, for the most part -- there is more to this Real side than immediately meets the eye going into the new season.
Benitez has taken a schoolmaster's approach to his new squad and everybody has started with a clean slate. Unlike his predecessors, to a lesser or greater extent, the Spaniard has resisted the temptation to simply run down the list of players available to him and mark "loan" next to their names without having a good look first.
It's fairly obvious that Jose Maria Romero, Ruben Yanez and Marcos Llorente won't be first-team material during 2015-16, but everyone else on Real's Southern Hemisphere tour is being given a fair chance, which can only strengthen the side in the medium term.
Previous manager Carlo Ancelotti didn't do a lot wrong during his tenure at the Bernabeu, but there is mitigation for the board's decision to sack the Italian; when the first team was diminished by injury, Ancelotti had little in the way of solutions, and at the tail end of last season it cost the club dearly.
He may not have fancied the resources he had at his disposal -- as proven by his reluctance to field €32 million man Asier Illarramendi -- but he failed to address yawning gaps in his squad throughout his two-year reign. Benitez seems intent on making sure he has more options from the bench.
The signing of Lucas Silva may have been a whim of the sporting directorship, but Ancelotti perhaps should have displayed more faith in Casemiro, who proved at Porto that he is more than capable of filling the third-choice defensive midfield slot.
Silva was billed as one for the future, but it smacked more of a panic buy because the hierarchy clearly was not convinced that Illarramendi was up to the task. Thrown in at the deep end, it became painfully apparent that Silva was flailing badly in unfamiliar waters. A loan outing for the €14 million Brazilian is inevitable, not least because among Real's four non-EU players -- the rules allow just three to be named in a matchday squad -- he is the most expendable, behind James Rodriguez, Danilo and Casemiro.
Benitez is fashioning a squad where ability will be as important as marketability, at least within the parameters of a club like Real Madrid. Lucas Vazquez was brought back to the Bernabeu after a successful loan spell at Espanyol, where he showed he has the confidence to run at opposition defenders and a penchant for tracking back, which is not exactly the case with Real Madrid attacking players normally.
Although he can expect to act as an understudy to Gareth Bale initially, at 24 Vazquez will also be encouraged to ensure that the Welshman doesn't get too complacent. It doesn't seem likely that there will be any "untouchables" on Benitez's watch if the manager's opening gambits are anything to go by.
Meanwhile, Denis Cheryshev looks set to be another beneficiary of Benitez's open house approach. The Russia international, also 24, was recalled after a successful loan at Villarreal last season and has been playing his way into Benitez's plans Down Under. Real lacked any genuine backups to Bale and Ronaldo last season during Jese's lengthy injury layoff, but both Vazquez and Cheryshev, who found the net Friday against City, have league experience and are fully equipped to step up when required at the Bernabeu.
If Benitez can draw the best out of Jese in a centre-forward role -- the Spain under-21 international started there against Roma -- then Real will have a full order of replacements across the front line for the 2015-16 season. Benitez himself has stated there's no point in buying if the squad can't be instantly improved, and it's difficult to upgrade on what Real already possesses. What Benitez is building is a solid backup supply for the nominal first XI, which is what he put out against City in the absence of Rodriguez.
With Casemiro back at the Bernabeu to plug the hole at the base of midfield when Toni Kroos or Modric are unavailable and Isco excelling in the role of a deep-lying playmaker in Australia -- the Spain international provided two assists in Friday's victory -- Benitez has more or less everything he needs for the season ahead.
When the fixtures start piling up and injuries and suspensions take their toll, Real are far better equipped already to challenge on all fronts than they were last year. That's some pretty solid work on the part of the new manager with four weeks still to spare until the season begins in earnest.

Benitez: I don't mind Ronaldo getting angry

The Real Madrid coach says his relationship with the Portugal star is good and admits James Rodriguez and Isco represent a real selection dilemma
Rafael Benitez says Cristiano Ronaldo is welcome to get angry during training - as long as he keeps producing the goods on the pitch.
Ronaldo caught the headlines after becoming aggravated with Benitez during a recent Real Madrid training session, though he promptly delivered a typically ruthless display in the 4-1 win over Manchester City.
And his head coach says he has no problem with such outbursts from his players, provided they deliver when it matters most.
"My relationship with him is good," he told reporters in China when asked about Ronaldo. "When someone gets angry during a training session, but then does their job, there's no problem, it's fine."
Benitez also admits having a fully-fit James Rodriguez and Isco to choose from will present a welcome selection dilemma heading into the new season.
"As a coach I am delighted to have players with quality like that," he said. "To be competitive, they need to be at 100 per cent and after that I will make my decision. Both of them are going to make my job much harder."
Madrid take on Inter in the International Champions Cup on Monday.

James Rodríguez

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Rodríguez and the second or maternal family name is Rubio.
James Rodríguez
James Rodriguez.jpg
James at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full nameJames David Rodríguez Rubio
Date of birth12 July 1991 (age 24)
Place of birthCúcuta, Colombia
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing positionAttacking midfielder / Winger
Club information
Current team
Real Madrid
Youth career
Senior career*
2014–Real Madrid29(13)
National team
2007Colombia U1711(3)
2011Colombia U205(3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:00, 24 May 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:56, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
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 the Colombia national team, as an attacking midfielder or winger.
James is commonly ranked as one of the best young players in the world.[1][2][3] He is praised for his technique, vision andplaymaking skills, and has often been referred to as the successor to his compatriot Carlos Valderrama.[2][4][5]
James became well known in Europe during his time at Porto, by 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, making him the most expensive Colombian in history, above Radamel Falcao, and one of the most expensive players in football.[6]
His emergence in the Colombia national team started with the U-20 team, where he was captain of the 2011 Toulon Tournament-winning side. He eventually captained the U-20 team during the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which eventually led him to become a regular on the senior squad by age 20. He was selected to play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot as top goalscorer and was part of the Cup's All Star Team.[7][8]


  • 1 Club career
    • 1.1 Envigado
    • 1.2 Banfield
      • 1.2.1 2008
      • 1.2.2 2009
      • 1.2.3 2010
    • 1.3 Porto
      • 1.3.1 2010–11 season
      • 1.3.2 2011–12 season
      • 1.3.3 2012–13 season
    • 1.4 Monaco
    • 1.5 Real Madrid
      • 1.5.1 2014–15 season
  • 2 International career
    • 2.1 Youth
    • 2.2 Senior
      • 2.2.1 2014 World Cup qualification and friendlies
      • 2.2.2 2014 World Cup
  • 3 Style of play
  • 4 Sponsorship
  • 5 Personal life
  • 6 Career statistics
    • 6.1 Club
    • 6.2 International goals
  • 7 Honours
    • 7.1 Club
    • 7.2 International
    • 7.3 Individual
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Club career[edit]


Born in Cúcuta, James spent his childhood in the city of Ibagué. He was born to Wilson James Rodríguez Bedolla and Maria Del Pilar Rubio. James started his professional football career in 2006 with the Colombian second division club Envigado, with whom he achieved the 2007 promotion to Colombian first division.



In 2008, he was signed by Argentine team Banfield, where he made his first team debut on 7 February 2009. He scored his first goal for the club on 27 February with a long range strike in a 3–1 victory over Rosario Central.


In 2009, he became a regular first team player featuring in every game of the Apertura 2009. At only 17, this made him the youngest foreigner to score a goal in Argentina.[9] His second goal for Banfield came on 26 September when he scored with a strike into the top corner from outside of the area in an important 2–1 against Newell's Old Boys, a win that helped Banfield win the Argentine championship for the first time in the history of the club.[10]
In December 2009, Italian club Udinese planned to make a bid for James for a reported €5 million following the end of the 2010 Copa Libertadores. However, Banfield rejected the bid since the price was "insufficient".[11]
For the Clausura 2010, 13 February 2010, James scored a golazo in the match against arch rivals Lanús with a left-footed lob to make the game 2–0 in the final minutes. After the game, daily sports website Diario Olé likened his playing and personal style to Cristiano Ronaldo and also nicknamed him the "James Bond of Banfield".[12]


On 10 February 2010, James scored his first Copa Libertadores goal in a 2–1 home victory over Mexican club Monarcas Morelia.[13] James added to his glowing reputation with a goal in the Copa Libertadores group game on 17 February 2010. In a demolition of Deportivo Cuenca away from home, he scored the fourth goal of the game with a nice finish in the area on his left foot. Banfield thrashed them 4–1.[14] His wonderful scoring season continued with a brace in the Copa Libertadores group game on 10 March 2010. In an away match with Uruguayan club Nacional, James scored once with a diving header and again from the penalty spot on his right foot in the game, which ended 2–2.[15] The 18-year-old netted another goal on 29 April 2010 in the second round match of Copa Libertadores 2010 in the first match versus Brazilian club Internacional, which Banfield won 3–1,[16] bringing his tally to 5 goals in 7 games. However, the international season ended in defeat as his team went down on away goals, losing 2–0 in Porto Alegre in a game, in which James was also red carded for two fouls.[17]


2010–11 season[edit]

On 6 July 2010, James was signed by Porto for €5.1 million, with 30% economic rights retained by other parties. He signed a 4-year contract with a €30M release clause.[18] Porto later re-sold 10% economic rights to third parties.[19] On 18 July, he played his first game and scored his first goal in a friendly against Ajax.[20] In November Porto sold 35% economic rights (half of 70%) to Gol Football Luxembourg, S.A.R.L. for €2.5 million.[21]
On 15 December 2010, James scored his first goal in European football in a 3–1 home victory for Porto against CSKA Sofia.[22] James also scored a hat-trick in the 2011 Taça de Portugal Final against Vitória de Guimarães in a 6–2 win for Porto while also assisting a goal in the same game. On 17 May Porto bought the remaining 30% economic rights from Convergence Capital Partners B.V. for €2,250,000, which made Porto once again hold more than half of the economic rights of 55%.[23] On 13 June, he signed a new five-year contract, and the release clause increased to €45 million.[24] In just 24 appearances, he scored six goals and eight assists also playing a part in the Europa Leaguevictory.[25]

2011–12 season[edit]

In the 2011–12 season, James scored 14 goals for Porto and delivered 11 assists. In 2011, James won the LPFP Award for Breakthrough Player of 2011–12 Primeira Ligaseason at age 20, becoming the first Colombian player to do so. He is a two-time winner of the SJPF Player of the Month. James won the Portuguese Golden Ball award in 2012, becoming the second Colombian after Radamel Falcao to win the award, as well as being the youngest player ever to hold the honour.[26][27][28] On 20 September 2011, he punched Rabiola and was given a red card in a league match against Feirense, missing the match against Benfica.[29]

2012–13 season[edit]

In the 2012–13 season, James was given the number 10 shirt and became a regular starter. Since fellow Colombians Radamel FalcaoFredy Guarín, and Brazilian Hulk left the club within the last two seasons, James was able to start more matches than before. In a match against Olhanense, James chipped a goal outside the box at a tight angle. In the same game, he assisted compatriot Jackson Martínez with a through ball for an eventual 3–2 win. James scored another goal against Beira-Mar, not before assisting the first two goals, ending in a 4–0 victory. James assisted a goal with a free kick rebound in an away game against Rio Ave that eventually ended at 2–2.[30]
In the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League group stage, he scored against French club Paris Saint-Germain in a 1–0 victory allowing Porto to top their current group.[31] A few days later, James scored a penalty against rivals Sporting CP. In just the first month of the 2012–13 season, James had won the SJPF Player of the Month award.[32][33][34] In the third round of the group stage during the 2012–13 Champions League, he assisted a goal to an eventual 3–2 victory. James assisted with another goal against Estoril in a 2–1 victory.
In a 5–0 win over Marítimo, James scored twice. James scored another goal, this time against Academica Coimbra in the Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb. In the 90th minute against Braga, James scored a game-winning goal that ended 2–0. Against Moreirense, he assisted a goal from the corner to fellow countryman Jackson Martínez.
Prior to the opening of the second half of the season, James suffered a hamstring injury, causing him to struggle in maintaining fitness. This led him to being subbed after the first half in a match against CD Nacional where he injured his hamstring once more, resulting in him being out for one month.[35][36] On 1 February 2013, Porto also bought back 30% economic rights of James from Gol Football Luxembourg for €8.57 million[37] (by selling 47.5% economic rights of Diego Antonio Reyes for €3.5 million[38]), which Porto sold 35% of James in November 2010 to Gol Football for €2.5 million.
James made his return after being subbed in at the 70th minute of a 2–0 victory over Beira-Mar, his first match after being injured for more than a month. In the first leg of the Champions League round of 32 against Málaga, James was subbed on in the 60th minute. Despite not changing the 1–0 victory score, James became a big game changer in Porto's attack despite his current fitness.[39] On his second league match since his return, James assisted a goal with a wonderful cross against Rio Ave. Soon afterwards in his next league match, he assisted a goal against Estoril from a corner in a 2–0 victory.[40] It was James's first start in two months.[41] James got to start in the second leg of the Champions League match against Málaga until the second half where Porto was then down to ten men after a red card by a defender. Porto lost the match later, and Vítor Pereira was greatly criticized and questioned on why he didn't start sooner considering that he was an important key member where Porto could have a more solid team. James expressed his disappointment, claiming to be "100%" in good health (as well as giving a performance with no struggles shown). However, he also expressed his respect and understanding for the coach's concern.[42][43][44][45] Despite an exit in the Champions League, James went on to become the second most fouled player in the tournament of the 2012–13 season.[46]
James scored a goal in a 1–1 tie against Marítimo. Manchester United reportedly made a bid for 30 million euros to purchase James, but Porto rejected this since the offer was considered too low.[47][48][49] James made his 2012–13 edition debut for the 2012–13 Taça da Liga where he scored a penalty in the semi-finals. Porto won the match 4–0 and advanced to the finals. James gave a man of the match performance against Braga, scoring the first goal and assisting two, one from the field and one from the corner, in a 3–1 victory.[50] James assisted one of the goals in a 2–0 victory over Vitória de Setúbal. James scored the opening goal in a 3–1 victory over C.D. Nacional.
In the final match of the season against Paços de Ferreira, James helped assure that Porto would win its third consecutive league title after being tripped inside the box and securing a penalty that was later scored, thus providing the assist.[51][52] He finished the season scoring 10 goals and providing 13 assists in 24 league appearances. In general, he scored 13 goals and provided 15 assists within 32 appearances in all competitions for Porto of the 2012–13 season. Winning the league title meant that James won his eighth trophy since joining Porto in 2009, just after three seasons spent in Europe and at only 21 years of age.


On 24 May 2013, it was announced that James had joined French side AS Monaco for a transfer fee of €45 million thus making it the second most expensive transfer in Portuguese football, behind former teammate Hulk. He signed a five-year contract keeping him at the club until 2018.[53] This made him not only one of the most expensive transfers in the club's history, but in Ligue 1 history as well, along as the one of the highest in world football.[54]
James make a debut against Bordeaux, a game Monaco went on to win 2–0. He then missed Monaco's second league match to avoid a possible injury.[55] James finally made his first direct contribution for Monaco as he assisted the first goal in a 3–0 victory against Bastia, while setting up plays for the other two goals.[56] Against Saint-Étienne in the following week, James continued on with his playmaking form, giving a man of the match performance where he assisted both goals in a 2–1 victory.[57][58] Following the international break, James assisted the first goal in a 2–2 draw against Sochaux.[59]
James assisted the only goal for Monaco in a 1–1 draw against Évian.[60] Rodríguez finally scored his first goal for the club with a free-kick in a 2–0 win over Rennes.[61] James scored another goal in the next match within the fourth minute against Nice, where Monaco won 3–0.[62] Against Guingamp, James assisted both goals in a 0–2 victory.[63] James scored a goal against Valenciennes to put Monaco on the score sheet, but Monaco lost 1–2.[64]
James started 2014 by making his Coupe de France match against Vannes, where he both assisted and scored a goal in a 2–3 victory.[65] For his first league match of 2014, James assisted a goal against Montpellier.[66] Against Toulouse, James provided an assist for the second goal in a 0–2 away victory with a cross.[67] James' first double at Monaco came in the match against Bastia, where his goals won the game 2–0.[68] Within the final seconds against Reims, James hit a shot that hit the post and allowed Layvin Kurzawa to score the rebound, allowing Monaco to win the game 3–2.[69]
In the French media, James was referred to as 'perhaps' the best footballer in Ligue 1 due to his impressive debut with Monaco,[70] although he stated that he still required more time in the league.[71] Following the international break, James scored his first penalty for Monaco against Sochaux in a 2–1 win.[72]
James ended his debut season without a trophy, but managed to help Monaco secure a spot in the following season's UEFA Champions League, and earn a place in the starLigue 1 XI,[73] as well as becoming the assist leader in Ligue 1.[74]

Real Madrid[edit]

"The numbers mean nothing to me. I just want to help make history and bring joy to the Madrid fans. This is a club which is used to winning and I'm prepared mentally and physically to do so. It is a pleasure to be among so many stars and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from everyone. I've always followed Real Madrid and always dreamed of playing here. I've suffered a lot to get here and when you do that then it tastes so much better. I will never forget this day. I hope to work hard, to train well, and to experience a lot of joy here. I know I am under a lot of pressure, but I am happy to face it."
James on his move to Real Madrid.[75]
In a post-match interview during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, James stated his 'love', 'admiration', and 'passion' for Real Madrid, and that it would be a 'life's dream' to play for them in response with his performances arousing rumors linking him to the Spanish club.[76]
On 22 July 2014, James confirmed the rumors by signing a 6-year contract with the Spanish club for an undisclosed fee, which was reported to be around €80 million.[77][78][79][80][81][82] This move would make him the 4th most expensive player in history, the 3rd most expensive in Real Madrid's history, and the most expensive Colombian to date surpassing Radamel Falcao's €60 million in 2013.[83] The amount spent on his transfer fee led many to refer James as a Galáctico, also credited by the fact that he was given the number 10 shirt, carrying the legacy of Real Madrid legends such as Luís FigoFerenc Puskás, and the player he admired the most while growing up and supporting the club,Zinedine Zidane.[84][85][86]
James was greeted by a 45,000 attendance during his presentation.[87] The Colombian Ambassador in Madrid made a speech, carrying a message from the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, stating that James was changing the history of Colombian football and that the entire nation is behind him.[88] Florentino Pérez would follow with a speech of his own, stating that he welcomed James, a 'lover' and 'long supporter' of the club who will never forget the day he made his dream a reality.[89] 48 hours following his unveiling, it was reported that 345,000 of his shirt replicas were sold, breaking a record following the signing of any other player who joined the club in their respective time.[90] This was later confirmed to be totally unfounded and the number "nowhere near reality" by Adidas, the Real Madrid shirt and apparel supplier [91][92]

2014–15 season[edit]

James made his debut in the UEFA Super Cup at Cardiff City Stadium against Sevilla, in which Real Madrid won 2–0. He played 72 minutes before being replaced by Isco.[93]
On 19 August, James scored his first goal for Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup after coming on as a substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo at half time.[94] James made his Champions League debut for Real in the group stage opening match against FC Basel, where he scored the 4th goal in a 5–1 victory.[95] James would then score his first league goal days later against Deportivo, where he also supplied an assist in an 8–2 victory.[96] James scored a brace in a 4–0 win at Granada on 1 November, including a dipping volley from a difficult angle.[97]
In the match against Sevilla FC where he scored the opening goal, James had experienced a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot after being fouled. It was then reported that he would have surgery immediately and be out for 2 months.[98] James returned on April 5 in the match against Granada CF, where he assisted two goals in a 9-1 victory before being subbed out in the 60th minute.[99][100] Days later, James would score his first goal since his injury against Rayo Vallecano in a 0-2 victory.[101]

International career[edit]


In 2007, James was part of the Colombia U-17 team that finished runners-up in the 2007 South American Under-17 Championships, where he scored three goals. He also played a part helping Colombia advance to the knockout stages during the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where they eventually lost to the winners of the tournament Nigeria.
He was also part of the Colombia under-20 squad in three youth tournaments during 2011: the Toulon Tournament, the South American U-20 Championship and the U-20 World Cup that was held in his homeland Colombia.
James scored two goals and provided three assists during the 2011 Toulon Tournament. This led him to being voted as the MVP of the tournament where Colombia won in the finals against France in a penalty shootout. James scored one of the penalties that allowed Colombia to win the tournament.
During the 2011 South American U-20 Championship, he provided three assists throughout the tournament. During the 2011 U-20 World Cup, he was named captain of the U20 squad due to his impressive leadership role and talented experience during his time in his club Porto. During the cup, he scored three goals and provided three assists and gained international attention as a promising aspect that eventually led many to consider him to be a crucial key member of the Colombian senior squad. Despite Colombia losing in the quarter-finals against Mexico, James gained attention from many big clubs in Europe, and received praise from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.[102]


2014 World Cup qualification and friendlies[edit]

James lining up forColombia during the2014 World Cup qualification match against Uruguay, on 10 September 2013.
On 29 September 2011, James received his first call-up to the Colombian senior side, for a match scheduled to be played against Bolivia on 11 October 2011.[103] He was selected as the man of match, having made an impressive performance, including the initiation of the goal scored in the last minute by his former Porto teammate Radamel Falcao, which allowed a 1–2 win for Colombia. Under the new management of José Pékerman, he played a crucial part in setting up both goals in a 2–0 victory over Mexico. He scored his first goal for Colombia against Peru. Colombia went on to win the match boosting its place in the World Cup qualifying table from sixth to fifth.
In the World Cup qualifying match against Uruguay, James assisted two goals in a row from a 1–0 winning start, to a 3–0 winning game that eventually ended 4–0. James scored a stunning goal from a 30-yard free kick against Chile leveling the game to an eventual 3–1 away victory boosting Colombia to a second-place position in the qualifying stages. In the match against Paraguay, James set up the plays leading towards both goals in a 2–0 victory. In Colombia's last international friendly of the year, James assisted the sole goal allowing Colombia to tie with 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil 1–1.
James played his first match of 2013 in the opening second half of the CONMEBOL qualifiers against Bolivia where he gave a man of the match performance. He helped set up the second goal thanks to a free kick that he took. The game ended to an eventual 5–0 victory.[104]
Playing against South American leaders Argentina, James suffered an injury in the 30th minute, forcing him to be substituted. While the injury was not serious, James was rested where he missed the game against Peru days later. James made a good comeback where he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 victory over Ecuador during the final stages of the world cup qualifiers. In a tough match against Chile, James drew both penalties that equalized Colombia from a 1–3 and into a 3–3. This allowed Colombia to return to the World Cup for the first time in 16 years. Days later, James provided the assist for the first goal with a free-kick while setting up the second in a 1–2 away victory over Paraguay.
James continued on his play-making form by assisting the first goal and setting up the second against Belgium in a 2–0 victory. He was later voted man of the match.[105] A few days later, James was praised once more as a man of the match in a 0–0 draw against the Netherlands.[106] James started in Colombia's opening 2014 by scoring his first penalty against Tunisia in a 1–1 draw. In the last friendly before the World Cup, James scored yet another penalty against Jordan in a 3–0 victory.

2014 World Cup[edit]

"For me, special talents are those who do things that are completely out of the ordinary. Diego MaradonaLionel Messi,Luis Suárez, James Rodriguez – they do things because they have certain gifts that make them special. I believe he's the best player at the World Cup and I don't think I'm exaggerating; he's a young player. We tried to limit his influence, but he kept going and made his presence felt. Hopefully he'll continue to progress, because he's very young. Football needs players with these characteristics."
Óscar Tabárez on James.[107]
On 2 June 2014, James was named in Colombia's 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and assigned the number 10 shirt.[108] In the team's opening match of the tournament, James had set up the first two goals and scored a last-minute goal with a low shot to seal a 3–0 victory over Greece and was named man of the match by FIFA.[109] In the second match, James continued on his form by scoring with a header and setting up a second goal for Juan Fernando Quintero in a 2–1 victory over Ivory Coast; he was once again elected as man of the match.[110] In the final group stage match against Japan, James came on as a second-half substitute and assisted two Jackson Martínez goals before scoring the final goal in a 4–1 victory.[111][112] At the end of the group stage, James was ranked as the best performing player at the tournament by FIFA.[113]
James scoring his second goal againstUruguay in the Round of 16 match.
On 28 June, James scored both goals to defeat Uruguay 2–0 at theMaracanã in the round of 16, taking Colombia to its first ever World Cupquarter-finals. These goals made him the first player to score in all of his team's opening matches since Ronaldo and Rivaldo in2002.[114] His volleyed opening goal was described as "one of the greatest goals the World Cup has ever seen" by opposition manager Óscar Tabárez, who also called James "the best player in the World Cup".[115] For his performance against the Uruguayans, James was named by FIFA as man of the match for the third time in four matches.[116] The goal would later be voted as the best goal in the tournament by more than 4 million people on FIFA's website,[117] as well as winning the FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year.[118][119] In the quarter-final against Brazil, he scored his sixth goal of the tournament, a penalty in Colombia's 2–1 defeat.[120] A tearful James was consoled by Brazil's David Luiz and stated, "He (David) told me I was a good player. The truth is that having so many superstars hugging me did make me happy. We have to raise our heads now and thank Colombia for their support. We are sad because we wanted to keep going and set new records. We gave everything to reach the semi-final, but we have to be proud because we played a great side. I'm crying because we gave everything. We're sad but we also have to feel proud because we left our skin out there."[121][122] Luiz and Rodriguez also exchanged jerseys. James received a standing ovation from the home crowd, ending his first World Cup campaign with six goals and two assists in five matches.[123] On 11 July, he was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA's Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.[124] He then won the Golden Boot as the tournament's top goalscorer despite being eliminated in the quarter finals.[7] Due to his performances, he was named in the World Cup All Star XI and was also listed in the Cup's star XI by Castrol's index rating system in FIFA's website.[8] Argentina legend Diego Maradona argued that James should have won the tournament's Golden Ball award instead of Lionel Messi.[125]

Style of play[edit]

Widely considered to be among the best young players in the world,[126] 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.[127] Although in an interview, he expressed having a main preference for an attacking midfielder position to his comfort.[128] James's emergence during his time in Argentina led to comparisons with the famous Colombian footballer Carlos Valderrama; Valderrama himself declared James as his "successor".[129][130][131]
James has shown ambidexterity in his dribbling and style of play.[132][133] His goal scoring abilities were a highlight of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he managed to claim theGolden Boot despite Colombia's elimination in the quarter finals.[7]


During his early days playing in South America, James was approached by Adidas head scout Claus Peter Meyer.[126] He featured occasionally in various adverts for Adidas, as well as the Colombian beverage, "Pony Malta"; Nestle drink, "Milo"; and the shampoo brand "Clear".[134] 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's increased exposure and issued him with his own custom gold boots to celebrate his achievement and increase the brands on pitch association with their new star asset.[135]

Personal life[edit]

James has been married to Daniela Ospina ,[136] sister of David Ospina, since 2011, and has a daughter named Salome, born on 29 May 2013. James is a devout Christian.[137]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 23 May 2015[138]
EnvigadoPrimera B 20078080
Primera A 2008229229
BanfieldClausura 2009121121
Apertura 2009183183
Clausura 201012185206
Real Madrid2014–1529134291414617
1 Includes Supercopa de EspañaUEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Colombia's goal tally first.[139]
1.3 June 2012Estadio NacionalLimaPeru Peru
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
2.11 September 2012Estadio Monumental David ArellanoSantiagoChile Chile
3.6 September 2013Estadio Metropolitano Roberto MeléndezBarranquillaColombia Ecuador
4.5 March 2014Estadi Cornellà-El PratBarcelonaSpain Tunisia
5.6 June 2014Estadio Nuevo GasómetroBuenos AiresArgentina Jordan
6.14 June 2014Estádio MineirãoBelo HorizonteBrazil Greece
2014 FIFA World Cup
7.19 June 2014Estádio Nacional Mané GarrinchaBrasíliaBrazil Ivory Coast
8.24 June 2014Arena PantanalCuiabáBrazil Japan
9.28 June 2014Estádio do MaracanãRio de JaneiroBrazil Uruguay
11.4 July 2014Estádio CastelãoFortalezaBrazil Brazil
12.14 October 2014Red Bull ArenaHarrisonUnited States Canada



  • Categoría Primera B2007[140]
  • Primera División ArgentinaApertura 2009[141]
  • UEFA Europa League2010–11[142]
  • Primeira Liga2010–112011–122012–13[142]
  • Taça de Portugal2010–11[142]
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira201020112012[142]
Real Madrid
  • FIFA Club World Cup2014
  • UEFA Super Cup2014


Colombia U-20
  • Toulon Tournament2011[143][144]


  • Youngest Foreigner Player ever to score in the Argentine Primera Division (age 17)[88]
  • Argentine Primera Division Young Player of the Year: 2009
  • Copa Libertadores Best Young Player: 2010
  • Best Player Toulon Tournament2011[144]
  • LPFP Primeira Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year2011–12[145]
  • SJPF Player of the MonthAugust 2012September 2012[146]
  • Record Team of the Year: 2012,[147]
  • O Jogo Team of the Year: 2012,[148] 2013[149]
  • Portuguese Golden Ball: 2012
  • Ligue 1 Assist Leader: 2013–14[150]
  • UNFP Ligue 1 XI2013–14 [73]
  • AS Monaco Player of the Year: 2013–14 [151]
  • Globe Revelation Player (1): 2014 [152]
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Boot2014[153]
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team2014[8]
  • FIFA World Cup Dream Team2014[154]
  • FIFA World Cup 2014 Goal of the Tournament: 1–0 (2–0) vs. Uruguay[117]
  • FIFA Puskás Award2014
  • La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15[155]