||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: poor grammar. (April 2015)|
James at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
|Full name||James David Rodríguez Rubio|
|Date of birth||12 July 1991|
|Place of birth||Cúcuta, Colombia|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder / Winger|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:00, 24 May 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. He is praised for his technique, vision and playmaking skills, and has often been referred to as the successor to his compatriot Carlos Valderrama.
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.
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.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Sponsorship
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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. 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.
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".
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".
On 10 February 2010, James scored his first Copa Libertadores goal in a 2–1 home victory over Mexican club Monarcas Morelia. 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. 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. 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, 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.
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. Porto later re-sold 10% economic rights to third parties. On 18 July, he played his first game and scored his first goal in a friendly against Ajax. In November Porto sold 35% economic rights (half of 70%) to Gol Football Luxembourg, S.A.R.L. for €2.5 million.
On 15 December 2010, James scored his first goal in European football in a 3–1 home victory for Porto against CSKA Sofia. 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%. On 13 June, he signed a new five-year contract, and the release clause increased to €45 million. In just 24 appearances, he scored six goals and eight assists also playing a part in the Europa League victory.
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 Liga season 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. On 20 September 2011, he punched Rabiola and was given a red card in a league match against Feirense, missing the match against Benfica.
In the 2012–13 season, James was given the number 10 shirt and became a regular starter. Since fellow Colombians Radamel Falcao, Fredy 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.
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. 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. 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. On 1 February 2013, Porto also bought back 30% economic rights of James from Gol Football Luxembourg for €8.57 million (by selling 47.5% economic rights of Diego Antonio Reyes for €3.5 million), 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. 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. It was James's first start in two months. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. Following the international break, James assisted the first goal in a 2–2 draw against Sochaux.
James assisted the only goal for Monaco in a 1–1 draw against Évian. Rodríguez finally scored his first goal for the club with a free-kick in a 2–0 win over Rennes. James scored another goal in the next match within the fourth minute against Nice, where Monaco won 3–0. Against Guingamp, James assisted both goals in a 0–2 victory. James scored a goal against Valenciennes to put Monaco on the score sheet, but Monaco lost 1–2.
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. For his first league match of 2014, James assisted a goal against Montpellier. Against Toulouse, James provided an assist for the second goal in a 0–2 away victory with a cross. James' first double at Monaco came in the match against Bastia, where his goals won the game 2–0. 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.
In the French media, James was referred to as 'perhaps' the best footballer in Ligue 1 due to his impressive debut with Monaco, although he stated that he still required more time in the league. Following the international break, James scored his first penalty for Monaco against Sochaux in a 2–1 win.
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 star Ligue 1 XI, as well as becoming the assist leader in Ligue 1.
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.
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. 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. 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 Figo, Ferenc Puskás, and the player he admired the most while growing up and supporting the club, Zinedine Zidane.
James was greeted by a 45,000 attendance during his presentation. 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. 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. 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. This was later confirmed to be totally unfounded and the number "nowhere near reality" by Adidas, the Real Madrid shirt and apparel supplier 
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. 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. James would then score his first league goal days later against Deportivo, where he also supplied an assist in an 8–2 victory. James scored a brace in a 4–0 win at Granada on 1 November, including a dipping volley from a difficult angle.
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. 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. Days later, James would score his first goal since his injury against Rayo Vallecano in a 0-2 victory.
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.
2014 World Cup qualification and friendlies
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. 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.
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. A few days later, James was praised once more as a man of the match in a 0–0 draw against the Netherlands. 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
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. 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. 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. 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. At the end of the group stage, James was ranked as the best performing player at the tournament by FIFA.
On 28 June, James scored both goals to defeat Uruguay 2–0 at the Maracanã in the round of 16, taking Colombia to its first ever World Cup quarter-finals. These goals made him the first player to score in all of his team's opening matches since Ronaldo and Rivaldo in 2002. 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". For his performance against the Uruguayans, James was named by FIFA as man of the match for the third time in four matches. The goal would later be voted as the best goal in the tournament by more than 4 million people on FIFA's website, as well as winning the FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year. In the quarter-final against Brazil, he scored his sixth goal of the tournament, a penalty in Colombia's 2–1 defeat. 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." 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. On 11 July, he was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA's Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player. He then won the Golden Boot as the tournament's top goalscorer despite being eliminated in the quarter finals. 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. Argentina legend Diego Maradona argued that James should have won the tournament's Golden Ball award instead of Lionel Messi.
Style of play
Widely 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. Although in an interview, he expressed having a main preference for an attacking midfielder position to his comfort. 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".
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.
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'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.
- As of 23 May 2015
|Envigado||Primera B 2007||8||0||—||8||0|
|Primera A 2008||22||9||—||22||9|
- Scores and results list Colombia's goal tally first.
|1.||3 June 2012||Estadio Nacional, Lima, Peru||Peru||
||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2.||11 September 2012||Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago, Chile||Chile||
|3.||6 September 2013||Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez, Barranquilla, Colombia||Ecuador||
|4.||5 March 2014||Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, Barcelona, Spain||Tunisia||
|5.||6 June 2014||Estadio Nuevo Gasómetro, Buenos Aires, Argentina||Jordan||
|6.||14 June 2014||Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil||Greece||
||2014 FIFA World Cup|
|7.||19 June 2014||Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília, Brazil||Ivory Coast||
|8.||24 June 2014||Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá, Brazil||Japan||
|9.||28 June 2014||Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Uruguay||
|11.||4 July 2014||Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza, Brazil||Brazil||
|12.||14 October 2014||Red Bull Arena, Harrison, United States||Canada||
- UEFA Europa League: 2010–11
- Primeira Liga: 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13
- Taça de Portugal: 2010–11
- Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2010, 2011, 2012
- Real Madrid
- Colombia U-20
- Youngest Foreigner Player ever to score in the Argentine Primera Division (age 17)
- Argentine Primera Division Young Player of the Year: 2009
- Copa Libertadores Best Young Player: 2010
- Best Player Toulon Tournament: 2011
- LPFP Primeira Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year: 2011–12
- SJPF Player of the Month: August 2012, September 2012
- Record Team of the Year: 2012,
- O Jogo Team of the Year: 2012, 2013
- Portuguese Golden Ball: 2012
- Ligue 1 Assist Leader: 2013–14
- UNFP Ligue 1 XI: 2013–14 
- AS Monaco Player of the Year: 2013–14 
- Globe Revelation Player (1): 2014 
- FIFA World Cup Golden Boot: 2014
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2014
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014
- FIFA World Cup 2014 Goal of the Tournament: 1–0 (2–0) vs. Uruguay
- FIFA Puskás Award: 2014
- La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15
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- Liga Portugal
- James eleito melhor jogador das primeiras cinco jornadas
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