James Rodriguez — the new Colombian superstar — celebrates his 23rd birthday today, but who is this energetic young player who captured the imagination of millions with his incredible skills and outgoing personality? If you didn’t know who James — as he likes people to call him — was before the 2014 World Cup, you probably know now.
Who can forget the two beauties James scored, in Colombia’s 2-0 win over Uruguay in the round of 16? For many, the first goal from that match is the best goal of the 2014 World Cup and will surely be part of any summary once the tournament is over. But James also caught viewers interest with this genius celebratory dance, along with his teammates.
The passion and enthusiasm with which James and Colombia as a whole played during the World Cup was refreshing. The good news are that we will see a lot more of him in the coming years, the bad news are that Colombia went home too soon and could have possibly do a better job than Brazil did against Germany, though that is just speculation.
James plays for the AS Monaco FS and it is more than likely his team can expect a higher attendance to their matches, after the impressive display the Colombian striker put on in Brazil. But if fans were surprised when James Rodriguez became the top scorer of the World Cup (article written before the final), they shouldn’t have.
From the time of the qualifiers, James was showing why he currently finds himself a step away from being crowned the top scorer of the 2014 World Cup. During the qualifier against Uruguay, James had two assists in a row in a match Colombia won 4-0.
James scored a fantastic goal from a 30-yard free kick, to lead Colombia to a 3-1 victory against Chile and in the match against Paraguay, Rodriguez created plays that ultimately lead to both goals in the 2-0 win. James was critical in Colombia returning to the World Cup after 16-years.
The 23-year-old scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Ecuador, in the last phase of the World Cup qualifier. When Colombia was down 1-3 against Chile, James Rodriguez drew both penalties to earn his country a draw and the very important qualification to the World Cup.
James left an indelible mark when, when after the tough loss to Brazil, he was seen openly weeping. In a show of rare sportsmanship, Brazilian players, including David Luiz, came to console him. The photo was an instant hit and turned James Rodriguez into a social media star. We hope to see many more World Cups from this young Colombian player, who today turns 23.
[Image via Twitter]