Colombia may have been eliminated in the quarter finals but that didn’t stop the team’s breakout star from becoming the 2014 World Cup’s top scorer.
James Rodríguez, 23, took FIFA’s Golden Boot after scoring six goals in five matches, not to mention two assists. The soccer player’s brilliant performance in Brazil caught the eye of millions but anyone who has followed the young star’s career wasn’t surprised.
A video of a 12-year-old James playing for Academia Tolimense during the final of Ponyfútbol, perhaps Colombia’s most important kid’s soccer tournament, shows the “niño crack” (boy superstar) scoring an olympic goal.
(Check Out Young James’ Skill In The Video Above)
“I want to be a professional,” Rodríguez said after the match.
He got his wish. From there things escalated quickly for James, who a little over two years later went pro.
The star currently plays for AS Monaco, though Spain’s Real Madrid has recently shown interest in the breakout star of the World Cup and, according to reports by the Spanish daily AS, may have already sealed the deal for his transfer.
Scoring with precision and skill using his head and both feet, James helped Colombia reach the quarterfinals for the first time in history -- after “Los Cafeteros” had experienced a 16 year absence from the World Cup and lost their star player Radamel Falcao to an injury prior to the tournament’s start.
Colombia’s World Cup dreams were cut short when they faced Brazil in a controversial match on July 4. But with just five games the team left a mark that prompted 120 thousand people to welcome their team home as heroes at the Simón Bolívar park in Bogotá a few days later.
On Sunday, the country’s World Cup accomplishments continued after Germany took the top prize in a 1-0 win over Argentina. Los Cafeteros’ historic run would result in Colombia winning FIFA’s Fair Play award and James receiving the Golden Boot, beating other top contenders like Germany’s Thomas Muller and the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben. Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado was also the player with the most assists in the tournament.
Despite James’ time in the World Cup being cut short, soccer stars like Argentina’s Diego Armando Maradona have continued to praise the player’s performance -- going as far as saying that he, and not Lionel Messi, deserved FIFA’s Golden Ball award as the top player of the tournament.
FIFA also recognized James by choosing him as midfielder on their official 2014 World Cup “Dream Team.” Not to mention, Rodríguez’s skillful goals against Japan and Uruguay are currently up for a vote to take the title of “Goal of the Tournament” on the official FIFA website.
Take a look at all of James Rodríguez’s World Cup goals in the video below.