James David Rodríguez Rubio is known as ‘James’, and often has that name on the back of his shirt. He’s predominately an attacking midfielder who plays behind the strikers, a classic No10 player. Such is his versatility, he can play in a number of positions across the midfield or the forward line. He has played as a winger, playmaker and a midfielder. The player is renowned for his pace, technical skills and his ability to both create and score goals. He is strong with both feet and is a goal threat from inside and outside the penalty area. The Columbian is an expert free-kick taker and has a keen eye for a goal.
Rodríguez started his career at Columbian side Envigado. He moved to Argentinian side Banfield before making a name for himself during a successful three-year spell with Porto. He picked up a number of winner’s medals in Portugal including the Primera Liga three times and the UEFA Europa League. His performances earned him a move to French club, AS Monaco. Monaco paid a transfer fee of €45 million for the Columbian.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil was a huge marker in Rodríguez’s career. It helped elevate his status to a global superstar. In Columbia’s opening match against Greece he set up two goals and also scored one. His performance earned him man of the match. He also got man of the match in the second game against the Ivory Coast, scoring once again and created an assist for the other goal. FIFA ranked Rodríguez as the best player in the tournament during the group stages.
James once again got the man of the match award in the last-16 match against Uruguay, scoring both goals in the 2-0 victory. His opening goal was voted as the best goal of the tournament and won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year. He scored once again in Columbia’s defeat to Brazil in the Quarter Final. He won the Golden Boot and was named in the World Cup All Star XI. Many believed he should also have won the Golden Ball, which ultimately went to Messi.
His World Cup performances drew the attention of his boyhood club, Real Madrid. He made his dream move to Los Blancos in July 2014 for a fee of £64 million. The fee was the fourth most expensive transfer in history. James was greeted by 45,000 adoring fans at the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid. He was presented with the iconic No10 shirt, worn by the likes of Figo, Puskas and Rodríguez’s very own hero, Zinedine Zidane. James would go to win the UEFA Champions League twice with Real Madrid, La Liga twice plus the UEFA Super and FIFA Club World Cup.
James was loaned to Bayern Munich in 2017 where we would win two further league titles, this time in Germany. He secured a permanent move to Premier League side Everton in September 2020, signing a two-year deal. Everton agreed a £20 million transfer with Real Madrid and is a major coup for the Merseyside club. He got off to fantastic start with three goals and three assists in his first four games for the club.