James David RodrÃguez RubioÂ (American Spanish:Â [Ëˆxamez roËˆÃ°É¾iÉ£es];[a]Â born 12 July 1991), commonly known simply asÂ James, is a Colombian professionalÂ footballerÂ who plays as anÂ attacking midfielderÂ orÂ wingerÂ forÂ Premier LeagueÂ clubÂ EvertonÂ and theÂ Colombia national team. He has been praised for his technique, vision andÂ playmakingÂ skills, and often referred as the successor to his compatriotÂ Carlos Valderrama.
Starting his career atÂ EnvigadoÂ and then moving to Argentina sideÂ Banfield, James became well known in Europe during his time atÂ Porto, winning several trophies and individual awards during his three years at the club. In 2014, James moved fromÂ AS MonacoÂ to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of Â£63Â million, which beat the one set byÂ Radamel FalcaoÂ and made him the most expensive Colombian football player andÂ one of the most expensiveÂ players at the time.Â In his debut season, he was named in theÂ La Liga Team of the SeasonÂ and wonÂ La Liga Best Midfielder. In 2017, he signed for German clubÂ Bayern MunichÂ on a two-year loan deal.
James started his international career with the ColombiaÂ under-20 team, with which he won the 2011Â Toulon Tournament. He then captained the U-20 team during theÂ 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Due to his performance in the tournament, he was regularly called into the senior squad by the age of 20. He played in theÂ 2014Â andÂ 2018 FIFA World Cup, winning theÂ Golden BootÂ as the goalscorer in the former tournament and being included in theÂ Cup’s All Star Team.Â He also represented his nation at theÂ 2015 Copa AmÃ©rica, theÂ Copa AmÃ©rica CentenarioÂ in 2016, and theÂ 2019 Copa AmÃ©rica, winning a third-place medal in 2016.
Born inÂ CÃºcuta,Â Norte de Santander, James spent his childhood in the city ofÂ IbaguÃ©,Â Tolima. He was born to Wilson James RodrÃguez Bedoya and Maria Del Pilar Rubio. James started his professional football career in 2006 with the Colombian second division clubÂ Envigado, with which he reached the Colombian first division through the 2007 promotion.Â He became the second youngest Colombian player to start a professional match, playing his first match on 21 May 2006, at the age of 14.
In 2008, he was signed by Argentine teamÂ Banfield. He made his first team debut on 7 February 2009,Â and scored his first goal for the club on 27 February with a long range strike in a 3â€“1 victory overÂ Rosario Central. He finished his first season with a goal in 11 appearances.
In 2009, he became a regular first-team player, featuring in every game of theÂ Apertura 2009. At just 17, he became the youngest foreigner to score a goal in Argentina.Â 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 2â€“1 win againstÂ Newell’s Old Boys, a victory that helped Banfield win theÂ Argentine championshipÂ for the first time in the club’s history.
In December 2009, Italian clubÂ UdineseÂ planned to make a bid for James for a reported â‚¬5Â million after theÂ 2010 Copa Libertadores. However, Banfield rejected the bid, labelling it as “insufficient”.
For theÂ Clausura 2010, on 13 February 2010, James scored aÂ golazoÂ in the match against archrivalsÂ LanÃºsÂ with a left-footed lob to make the game 2â€“0 in the final minutes. After the game, daily sports websiteÂ Diario OlÃ©Â compared his playing and personal style toÂ Cristiano RonaldoÂ and nicknamed him the “James BondÂ of Banfield”.
On 10 February 2010, James scored his firstÂ Copa LibertadoresÂ goal in a 2â€“1 home victory over Mexican clubÂ Monarcas Morelia.Â James added to his glowing reputation a week later with a goal in a daunting victory overÂ Copa LibertadoresÂ group rivalsÂ Deportivo CuencaÂ away from home, scoring the fourth goal of the game with a nice finish in the area on his left foot. Banfield thrashed the home team 4â€“1. His wonderful scoring season continued with a brace in the Copa Libertadores group game on 10 March 2010. In an away match against Uruguayan clubÂ Nacional, James scored first with a diving header and then from the penalty spot on his right foot. The game ended with a 2â€“2 draw.Â The 18-year-old netted another goal against Brazilian clubÂ InternacionalÂ on 29 April 2010 in the first leg match ofÂ Copa Libertadores 2010Â Round 16, which Banfield won 3â€“1.Â This goal brought his tally to five goals in seven games. However, James’ international season ended in defeat as his team went down on away goals with a 0â€“2 defeat inÂ Porto AlegreÂ in the second leg, in which James was red carded for two fouls.
On 6 July 2010, James was signed byÂ PortoÂ for â‚¬5.1Â million, with 30% economic rights retained by other parties. He signed a four-year contract with a â‚¬30Â million release clause.Â Porto later re-sold 10% economic rights to third parties.Â On 18 July, he played his first game and scored his first goal in a friendly againstÂ Ajax.Â In November, Porto sold 35% economic rights (half of 70%) to Gol Football Luxembourg, S.A.R.L. for â‚¬2.5Â million.
On 15 December 2010, James scored his first competition goal inÂ EuropeÂ in a 3â€“1 home victory against Bulgarian clubÂ CSKA Sofia.Â James scored a hat-trick and assisted once againstÂ VitÃ³ria de GuimarÃ£esÂ in theÂ 2011 TaÃ§a de Portugal Final, which Porto won 6â€“2. On 17 May, Porto bought the remaining 30% economic rights from Convergence Capital Partners B.V. for â‚¬2.25Â million and once again hold more than half of the economic rights with 55%.Â On 13 June, James signed a new five-year contract in which the release clause increased to â‚¬45Â million.Â In no more than 24 appearances did he score six goals, provide eight assists and play a part in theÂ Europa LeagueÂ victory.Â He finished theÂ 2010â€“11 seasonÂ with six goals in 31 appearances.
In theÂ 2011â€“12 season, James scored 14 goals for Porto and delivered 11 assists. In 2011, James won theÂ LPFP Award for Breakthrough PlayerÂ ofÂ 2011â€“12 Primeira LigaÂ season at age 20, becoming the first Colombian player to do so. He is a two-time winner of theÂ SJPF Player of the Month. James won theÂ Portuguese Golden BallÂ award in 2012, becoming the second Colombian to win the award afterÂ Radamel FalcaoÂ as well as the youngest player ever to hold the honour.Â On 20 September 2011 in a league match againstÂ Feirense, he punchedÂ RabiolaÂ and was subsequently dismissed, missingÂ the matchÂ againstÂ Benfica.
In theÂ 2012â€“13 season, James was given the number 10 shirt and became a regular starter. Since fellow ColombiansÂ Radamel Falcao,Â Fredy GuarÃnÂ and BrazilianÂ HulkÂ left the club during the last two seasons, James was able to start more regularly than before. In a match againstÂ Olhanense, James chipped a goal outside the box at a tight angle. In the same game, he assisted compatriotÂ Jackson MartÃnezÂ with a through ball for an eventual 3â€“2 win. James scored the team’s third goal againstÂ Beira-MarÂ soon after assisting the first two goals in a 4â€“0 victory. A week later, James assisted a goal with a free kick rebound in an away game againstÂ Rio AveÂ that eventually ended at 2â€“2.
In theÂ 2012â€“13 UEFA Champions LeagueÂ group stage, he scored against French clubÂ Paris Saint-GermainÂ in a 1â€“0 victory allowing Porto to top their current group.Â A few days later, James scored a penalty against rivalsÂ Sporting Clube de Portugal. In no more than one month since the start of the 2012â€“13 season did James won theÂ SJPF Player of the MonthÂ award.Â In the third round of the Champions League group stage, he assisted a goal to an eventual 3â€“2 victory. James registered an assist in a 2â€“1 victory againstÂ Estoril.
In a 5â€“0 win overÂ MarÃtimo, James scored twice. James was once again on the score sheet nine days later in a match againstÂ AcadÃ©mica de Coimbra. In the 90th minute againstÂ Braga, James scored a game-winning goal that ended 2â€“0. AgainstÂ Moreirense, he assisted a goal from the corner to fellow countrymanÂ Jackson MartÃnez.
Prior to the second half of the season, James suffered a hamstring injury causing him to struggle to maintain fitness. In a match againstÂ Nacional, he injured his hamstring once more and was subsequently substituted after the first half. The injury sidelined him for a month.Â On 1 February 2013, Porto bought back 30% economic rights of James from Gol Football Luxembourg for â‚¬8.57Â millionÂ (by selling 47.5% economic rights ofÂ Diego ReyesÂ for â‚¬3.5Â million), which Porto sold in November 2010 for â‚¬2.5Â million.
James made his return at the 70th minute in the 2â€“0 victory over Beira-Mar, his first match since being injured for more than a month. In the first leg of the Champions League round of 32 againstÂ MÃ¡laga, James was called onto the pitch at the 60th minute. Although he failed to change the 1â€“0 victory score, James became a big game changer in Porto’s attack despite his current fitness.Â In his second league match since his return, James assisted a goal against Rio Ave with a wonderful cross. Soon afterwards in his next league match, he assisted a goal againstÂ EstorilÂ from a corner in a 2â€“0 victory.Â It was James’ first start in two months.Â James did not start in the second leg of the Champions League match against MÃ¡laga until the second half when Porto was down to ten men after the dismiss of a defender. Porto lost the match and coachÂ VÃtor PereiraÂ was greatly criticized and questioned why James did not start sooner considering that the player was a key member and Porto could have had 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 to the coach’s concern.Â Despite an exit from the Champions League, James went on to become the second-most fouled player in the tournament that year.
James scored a goal in a 1â€“1 tie against MarÃtimo.Â Manchester UnitedÂ reportedly made a bid for â‚¬30Â million to purchase James, though Porto rejected the offer as being too low.Â James made his debut in theÂ 2012â€“13 TaÃ§a da LigaÂ semi-final where he scored a penalty. Porto won the match 4â€“0 and advanced to the final. James gave a man of the match performance against Braga, scoring the first goal and assisting two, one from the field and the other from the corner, in a 3â€“1 victory.Â James assisted one of the goals in a 2â€“0 victory overÂ VitÃ³ria de SetÃºbal. He also scored the opening goal in a 3â€“1 victory over Nacional.
In the final match of the season againstÂ PaÃ§os de Ferreira, James was tripped inside the box and secured a penalty that was later scored and that led to Porto’s third consecutive league title.Â He finished the season with ten goals and 13 assists in 24 league appearances. In all competitions that season, he scored 13 goals and provided 15 assists in 32 appearances. Winning the league title meant that James, at 21, won his eighth trophy since joining the club three years ago.
On 25 May 2013, it was announced that James had joinedÂ AS MonacoÂ for a transfer fee of â‚¬45Â million,Â the second most expensive transfer in Portuguese footballÂ behind former teammateÂ Hulk. James subsequently signed a five-year contract that was set to keep him at the club until 2018.Â This transfer made him not only one of the most expensive transfers in the club’s history, but inÂ Ligue 1Â history as well, along as theÂ one of the highestÂ in world football.
James made his Monaco debut againstÂ Bordeaux, a game Monaco went on to win 2â€“0. He then missed Monaco’s second league match to avoid a possible injury.Â James made his first direct offensive contribution for Monaco by assisting the first goal in a 3â€“0 victory againstÂ BastiaÂ before setting up plays for his team’s other two goals.Â AgainstÂ Saint-Ã‰tienneÂ in the following week, James gave a man of the match performance by assisting on both goals in a 2â€“1 victory.Â Following the international break, James assisted the first goal in a 2â€“2 draw againstÂ Sochaux.
James assisted the only goal for Monaco in a 1â€“1 draw againstÂ Ã‰vian.Â He finally scored his first goal for the club with a free-kick in a 2â€“0 win overÂ Rennes.Â James scored another goal in the next match in the fourth minute againstÂ Nice, a game Monaco prevailed in 3â€“0.Â Away againstÂ Guingamp, James assisted both goals in a 2â€“0 victory.Â He then scored a goal againstÂ ValenciennesÂ to put Monaco on the score sheet, though Monaco ultimately lost 1â€“2.
James began the 2014 calendar year by making hisÂ Coupe de FranceÂ debut in a match againstÂ Vannes, where he both assisted and scored a goal in a 3â€“2 victory.Â In his first league match of 2014, James assisted a goal againstÂ Montpellier.Â AgainstÂ Toulouse, James provided an assist to the second goal in a 2â€“0 away victory with a cross.Â James’ first double at Monaco came in the match againstÂ Bastia, a 2â€“0 Monaco victory.Â Within the final seconds againstÂ Reims, James hit a shot that hit the post and allowed teammateÂ Layvin KurzawaÂ to score the rebound allowing Monaco to win the game 3â€“2.
In the French media, James was referred to as “perhaps” the best footballer in Ligue 1 due to his impressive debut season with Monaco,Â although he stated that he still required more time in the league to fully adapt.Â Following the international break, James scored his first penalty for Monaco against Sochaux in a 2â€“1 win.
James ended his debut season without a trophy, though nonetheless helped Monaco secure a spot in the following season’sÂ UEFA Champions League. On an individual level, he earned a spot in the starÂ Ligue 1 XI,Â and led Ligue 1 in assists on the season.
James on his move to Real Madrid.
In a post-match interview during theÂ 2014 FIFA World Cup, James stated his “love”, “admiration” and “passion” forÂ Real Madrid, saying that it would be a “life’s dream” to play for them after his performances aroused rumors linking him to the Spanish club.
On 22 July 2014, James confirmed the rumours by signing a six-year contract with the Spanish club for an undisclosed fee, which was reported to be approximately Â£63Â million.Â At the time, this was theÂ fourth-most expensive transfer in the world, the third-most expensive in Real Madrid’s history, and the most expensive Colombian to date after surpassingÂ Radamel Falcao‘s â‚¬60Â million transfer in 2013.Â The amount spent on his transfer fee led many to referring James as aÂ GalÃ¡cticoÂ credited by the fact that he was given the number 10 shirt carrying the legacy of Real Madrid legends such asÂ LuÃs Figo,Â Ferenc PuskÃ¡sÂ and the player he admired the most while growing up and supporting the club,Â Zinedine Zidane.
James was greeted by a 45,000 attendance during his presentation. The Colombian ambassador inÂ MadridÂ made a speech at the event and carried a message from Colombian PresidentÂ Juan Manuel SantosÂ that James was changing the history of Colombian football and that the entire nation is behind him.Â Real Madrid PresidentÂ Florentino PÃ©rezÂ 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.
On 19 August, James scored his first goal for Real Madrid againstÂ AtlÃ©tico MadridÂ in the first leg of theÂ Spanish Super CupÂ after coming on as a substitute forÂ Cristiano RonaldoÂ at half-time.Â James made his Champions League debut for Real in the group stage opening match againstÂ Basel, where he scored the fourth goal in a 5â€“1 victory.Â James then scored his first league goal days later againstÂ Deportivo La CoruÃ±a, where he also supplied an assist in an 8â€“2 victory.Â James scored in a 4â€“0 win atÂ GranadaÂ on 1 November a brace including a dipping volley from a poor angle.
In the match against Sevilla in which he scored the opening goal, James experienced aÂ fractureÂ on theÂ fifth metatarsalÂ in his right foot after being fouled. The injury required surgery and he was out of action for two months.Â James returned on 5 April in the match against Granada, where he assisted two goals in a 9â€“1 victory before being subbed at the 60th minute.Â Days later, James scored his first goal since his injury againstÂ Rayo VallecanoÂ in a 2â€“0 victory.
After being left on the bench for his team’s season opener, a scoreless draw againstÂ Sporting GijÃ³n, James made his first contribution of the season by giving a man of the match performance againstÂ Real Betis. The player scored with both a spectacular free-kick andÂ bicycle kickÂ and provided an assist forÂ Gareth Bale.
On 8 September 2015, during an international friendly match against Peru, James collided with Peruvian playerÂ Juan Manuel VargasÂ while going for a ball.Â Although he initially appeared able to continue, James was removed from the game as a precautionary measure,Â and he was diagnosed with a thigh muscle tear as a result of the knock.Â James was not seen back in training until 27 October 2015.
Despite the league title dominance and successful defense of the champions league title, James had played a total of 1,824 minutes compared to his limited 1,858 minutes the previous season. Despite achieving 11 goals and 13 assists, he failed to gain more playing time under Zidane despite his influence on the pitch, leading him to request a loan transfer for more playing time.
On 11 July 2017, it was announced that James was loaned toÂ Bayern MunichÂ on a two-year long deal.Â Bayern paid Real Madrid â‚¬13Â million as a loan fee for the two season-long loan. With James’ loan deal to Bayern, he reunited with his old Real Madrid managerÂ Carlo Ancelotti. Bayern had the option to buy James for â‚¬42Â million at the end of the loan period.Â He scored his first goal of his loan spell in a 3â€“0 away win overÂ Schalke 04.Â After a slow start to his Bayern career, mainly due to an injury in preseason, James rediscovered his form afterÂ Jupp HeynckesÂ was hired as Bayern’s manager in October 2017 as the club sacked Ancelotti.
On 2 April 2018, Bayern’s CEO,Â Karl-Heinz RummeniggeÂ thanked Ancelotti for luring James to Bayern. “It was a very, very good transfer and I have to thank Carlo Ancelotti once again,” Rummenigge said.
In the semi-finals of theÂ 2017â€“18 UEFA Champions LeagueÂ season, James scored the equalizing goal in a 2â€“2 draw against his parent club, Real Madrid, at theÂ Santiago BernabÃ©u Stadium, but Bayern failed to reach the final as they lost 3â€“4 on aggregate.Â However, James would go on to win theÂ 2017â€“18 BundesligaÂ title with Bayern, credited as a key member behind their title defense for his contribution of 7 goals and 11 assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances.
On 15 September 2018, James scored his opening goal of theÂ seasonÂ in a 3â€“1 victory overÂ Bayer Leverkusen.Â On 17 March 2019, he scored three goals in a 6â€“0 league win overÂ Mainz, his first hat-trick since 2011, with Porto.
On 18 May 2019, James won his second Bundesliga title as Bayern finished two points aboveÂ DortmundÂ with 78 points. A week later, James won his firstÂ DFB-PokalÂ as Bayern defeatedÂ RB LeipzigÂ 3â€“0 in theÂ 2019 DFB-Pokal Final. James did not appear in the match as he was out injured.Â James appeared in 28 matches and scored seven goals in all competitions.
On 5 June 2019, it was announced that Bayern Munich would not pick up the buy option and he would return to Real Madrid.
Return to Madrid
On 7 September 2020,Â Premier LeagueÂ clubÂ EvertonÂ announced that they had signed James fromÂ Real MadridÂ on a two-year deal, with a club option for a third season in a deal worth Â£20m.Â Hence, he reunited with old managerÂ Carlo AncelottiÂ for the third time.
James was part of theÂ Colombia U-17Â team that finished runners-up in theÂ 2007 South American Under-17 Championships, where he scored three goals. He also helped Colombia advance to the knockout stages during theÂ 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where they eventually lost to the winners of the tournamentÂ Nigeria.
He was also part of theÂ Colombia under-20Â squad in three youth tournaments during 2011: theÂ Toulon Tournament, theÂ South American U-20 ChampionshipÂ and theÂ U-20 World CupÂ that was held in his homeland Colombia.
James scored two goals and provided three assists during theÂ 2011 Toulon Tournament. This show led him to being voted as theÂ MVPÂ of the tournament where Colombia won the final by defeatingÂ FranceÂ in aÂ penalty shootout. James scored one of the penalties in the shootout.
During theÂ 2011 South American U-20 Championship, he provided three assists. During theÂ 2011 U-20 World Cup, he was namedÂ captainÂ of the U20 squad due to his impressive leadership and talent. By scoring three goals and providing three assists in the tournament, he gained international attention as a promising star and made many consider him as a potential key member of the Colombian senior squad.
2014 World Cup qualification and friendlies
On 29 September 2011, James received his first call-up to theÂ Colombia senior sideÂ for a match againstÂ BoliviaÂ on 11 October 2011.Â He was selected as the man of match due to his incredible performance including the initiation of the goal scored in the last minute by his former Porto teammateÂ Radamel FalcaoÂ which gave Colombia a 2â€“1 win. Under the new managerÂ JosÃ© PÃ©kerman, he played a crucial part in setting up both goals in a 2â€“0 victory overÂ Mexico. He scored his first goal for Colombia againstÂ Peru. Colombia went on to win the match and boosted its place in the World Cup qualifying table from sixth to fifth.
James assisted two goals in a row from 1â€“0 to 3â€“0 In theÂ World Cup qualifyingÂ match againstÂ UruguayÂ that eventually ended 4â€“0. James scored a stunningÂ volleyÂ from a 30-yard free kick againstÂ Chile, leveling the game to an eventual 3â€“1 away victory boosting Colombia to the second place in the qualifying stages. In the match againstÂ Paraguay, James set up the plays leading towards both goals in a 2â€“0 victory. In Colombia’s last international friendly of the year, James assisted the sole goal allowing Colombia to tie withÂ 2014 World CupÂ hostsÂ BrazilÂ 1â€“1.
James played his first match of 2013 in the second half of theÂ CONMEBOLÂ qualifiers againstÂ BoliviaÂ where he gave a man of the match performance. He set up the second goal thanks to a free kick that he took. The game ended 5â€“0 eventually.
Playing against South American leadersÂ Argentina, James suffered an injury in the 30th minute forcing him to be substituted. While the injury was not serious, James was rested and therefore missed the game against Peru days later. James made a good comeback when he scored the winning goal in a 1â€“0 victory overÂ EcuadorÂ during the final stages of the world cup qualifiers. In a tough match against Chile, James drew both penalties that equalized Colombia from a 1â€“3 to a 3â€“3. This drew allowed Colombia to return to the World Cup for the first time in 16 years. Days later, James assisted the first goal with a free-kick while setting up the second in a 2â€“1 away victory over Paraguay.
James continued his play-making form by assisting the first goal and setting up the second againstÂ BelgiumÂ in a 2â€“0 victory. He was later voted man of the match.Â A few days later, James was praised once more as the man of the match in a 0â€“0 draw against
theÂ Netherlands.Â James started in Colombia’s 2014 opening match and scored a penalty againstÂ TunisiaÂ in a 1â€“1 draw. In the last friendly before the World Cup, James scored yet another penalty againstÂ JordanÂ in a 3â€“0 victory.
2014 World Cup
On 2 June 2014, James was named in Colombia’s 23-man squad for theÂ 2014 FIFA World CupÂ and assigned the number 10 shirt.Â In the team’s opening match of the tournament, James set up the first two goals, scored a last-minute goal with a low shot to seal a 3â€“0 victory overÂ GreeceÂ and was named man of the match byÂ FIFA.Â In the second match, James continued his form by scoring with a header and setting up a second goal forÂ Juan Fernando QuinteroÂ in a 2â€“1 victory overÂ Ivory CoastÂ and was once again elected as man of the match.Â In the final group stage match againstÂ Japan, James came on as a second-half substitute and assisted twoÂ Jackson MartÃnezÂ goals before scoring the final goal in a 4â€“1 victory.Â At the end of the group stage, James was ranked as the best performing player at the tournament byÂ FIFA.
On 28 June, James scored both goals to defeatÂ UruguayÂ 2â€“0 at theÂ MaracanÃ£Â in theÂ round of 16, taking Colombia to its first ever World CupÂ quarter-finals. These goals made him the first player to score in all of his team’s opening matches sinceÂ RonaldoÂ andÂ RivaldoÂ inÂ 2002.Â His volleyed opening goal was described as “one of the greatest goals the World Cup has ever seen” by opposing managerÂ Ã“scar TabÃ¡rez, who also called James “the best player in the World Cup.”Â Because of his performance against the Uruguayans, James was named by FIFA as man of the match for the third time in four matches.Â The volley was later voted as the best goal in the tournament by more than four million people on FIFA’s websiteÂ and won theÂ FIFA PuskÃ¡s AwardÂ for the best goal of the year.Â In theÂ quarter-finalÂ against Brazil, he scored his sixth goal of the tournament, a penalty in Colombia’s 2â€“1 defeat.
A tearful James was consoled by Brazil’sÂ David LuizÂ and stated, “He (David) told me I was a good player. The truth is that having so many superstars hug 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.”
Â Luiz and RodrÃguez 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.Â On 11 July, he was named on the 10-man shortlist for FIFA’sÂ Golden BallÂ award for the tournament’s best player.Â He then won theÂ Golden BootÂ as the tournament’s top goalscorer despite being eliminated in the quarter finals.Â Due to his performances, he was named in theÂ World Cup All Star XIÂ and was also listed in the Cup’s star XI byÂ Castrol‘s index rating system in FIFA’s website.Â Argentina legendÂ Diego MaradonaÂ argued that James, rather thanÂ Lionel Messi, that should have won the tournament’sÂ Golden BallÂ award.
2015 Copa AmÃ©rica and Copa AmÃ©rica Centenario
James was called up to represent Colombia at theÂ 2015 Copa AmÃ©ricaÂ in Chile,Â where his team was eliminated 5â€“4 on penalties by eventual finalists Argentina on 27 June, following a 0â€“0 draw.
The following summer, James joined Colombia’s squad for theÂ Copa AmÃ©rica CentenarioÂ and was named the team’sÂ captain.Â On 3 June, he started in Colombia’s opening 2â€“0 win against tournament hosts theÂ United States, scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot although he was forced off early due to an injury.Â It was initially feared that he would be unable to feature in his nation’s second group match againstÂ Paraguay,Â but he recovered in time to start the match, setting up Colombia’s first goal, and later scoring one himself in a 2â€“1 win which sealed his team a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Colombia would then lose in the semi-finals against eventual and defending champions Chile, before securing a third-place victory against the host nation for Colombia’s best result since 2001.
2018 World Cup qualification and friendlies
James made his first direct contribution towards qualification, scoring a goal in a heated duel against Copa America champions Chile, securing a 1â€“1 away draw.Â In early 2016, he provided both a goal and assist in a difficult away match against Bolivia resulting in a 2â€“3 victory.Â Days later, he assisted another goal in a 3â€“1 home victory against Ecuador.Â In early August, he contributed both a goal and an assist in Colombia’s 2â€“0 victory against Venezuela.
Starting off 2017, James scored a late dramatic goal against a defensive Bolivia after missing an earlier penalty. The 1â€“0 home victory allowed Colombia to move to 4th place within the qualification group.Â Days later, James would score and provide a goal in an impressive 0â€“2 victory in Ecuador.Â For his first friendly of the year, James assistedÂ Radamel Falcao‘s goal from the corner against European giantsÂ Spain. The game would end 2â€“2.Â Days later againstÂ Cameroon, James would both provide and score a goal in a dominating 4â€“0 victory.Â For the last qualification match of the 2018 World Cup, James would score a crucial away goal against South American rivalÂ Peru, resulting in a 1â€“1 draw and granting Colombia the last automatic qualification spot at fourth place.Â James’ last contribution of 2017 for Colombia would be an assist againstÂ South Korea, which would end 2â€“1.
Colombia’s World Cup preparations in 2018 began against World Cup favoritesÂ France, where James provided two assists towards a comeback of a 2â€“0 score to a 2â€“3 victory. This marked the first victory in Colombia’s history over France.
2018 World Cup
On 4 June 2018, James was selected in Colombia’s 23-man squad for theÂ 2018 FIFA World CupÂ in Russia.Â James did not start in the opening game againstÂ JapanÂ after a calf injury during training. He came as a substitute in the 59th minute forÂ Juan Quintero.Â On 24 June 2018, he provided two assists in a 3â€“0 victory overÂ PolandÂ and was named as the Man of the Match.Â James had to be substituted in the 30th minute in the final match of the group stage againstÂ SenegalÂ due to the injury.Â James played in all three matches during the group phase, but was forced to sit out of Colombia’s last 16 match againstÂ England. Colombia lost 4â€“3 on penalties against England and were eliminated from the World Cup. James was unable to score in those three matches.
2019 Copa AmÃ©rica
On 30 May 2019, James was included in the 23-man final Colombia squad for theÂ 2019 Copa AmÃ©rica.Â In the quarter-finals of the tournament against defending champions Chile on 28 June, following a 0â€“0 draw after regulation time, James scored in the resulting penalty shoot-out; however, Colombia were defeated 5â€“4 and were eliminated from the competition.
Style of play
Once considered to be among the best young players in the world,Â James is a versatile footballer who can play in several positions across theÂ midfieldÂ orÂ front-line, having played as aÂ playmaker,Â winger, andÂ central midfielderÂ for both club and country,Â although he has stated in interviews that his preferred role is as anÂ attacking midfielderÂ behind the strikers.Â Praised for his pace, technical skills, vision, and his ability to create chances for teammates as an advanced playmaker,Â James’ performances as a classic number 10 have led to comparisons with the famous Colombian footballerÂ Carlos Valderrama;Â Valderrama himself declared James as his “successor”.
Although naturally left-footed,Â James has shownÂ ambidexterityÂ in hisÂ dribblingÂ and style of play.Â His goal scoring abilities were a highlight of theÂ 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he managed to claim theÂ Golden BootÂ despite Colombia’s elimination in the quarter finals following a 2â€“1 loss toÂ Brazil.Â He is also an accurateÂ free kickÂ taker, and a goal threat from anywhere on the pitch.Â This has made James recognized for his
unpredictability as noted byÂ MarcaÂ writer Justin Sherman: “One of the differences that James has with other players is that, apart from being very good outside the area, he is also good inside. He has the qualities of a No. 9 and is capable of finishing with a shot from the head or with either foot with great effectiveness.”