-- Every World Cup produces a handful of players who become household names. Scoring spectacular goals or leading upsets tends to do that.
So while Colombia’s James Rodriguez (it’s pronounced "Hahm-ez") may have been on a number of lists of players to watch in Brazil, his rise looks like it’ll only continue rocketing skyward.
Colombia’s number 10 has led the attacking charge for Los Cafeteros, which are returning to the World Cup for the first time since 1998. He scored both goals in a 2-0 win against Uruguay in the round of 16, including a sublime volley that he blasted off the crossbar from 25 yards away.
"It is a dream and we are making history and we want to do even more because this is a team that wants to win a lot,” he said after the match against Uruguay.
"Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez -- they do things because they have certain gifts that make them special," Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez said of Rodriguez. "I believe he's the best player at the World Cup."
Rodriguez, 22, currently leads all players in the Golden Boot race (the award for top goal scorer of the tournament) with five goals and two assists. He and Colombia will play Brazil this afternoon in the quarterfinals.
He currently plays his club soccer for AS Monaco in France’s Ligue 1, having moved there in 2013. He scored 10 goals last season. Before that, Rodriguez played three seasons for Porto in Portugal, where he won the Europa League (the NIT to the Champion’s League’s NCCA Tournament) and two seasons for CA Banfield in Argentina.
Off the field, Rodriguez spends plenty of time with his daughter and his wife, the younger sister of Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.
His boyish good looks and his daughter’s adorableness make quite the pair.
Rodriguez and Colombia play hosts Brazil on Friday. If Colombia pulls the upset, Rodriguez gets a step closer to playing in the final the day after he turns 23.
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