This World Cup was supposed to be about Brazil's Neymar and Argentina's Lionel Messi. Both have performed admirably, but one player from the only other South American country still in the tournament has arguably outperformed both so far: Colombia's James Rodriguez. Though his success in Brazil has brought him a new level of global recognition, Rodriguez began this tournament far from unknown. Here's everything you need to know about James Rodriguez as he prepares to take on the host nation in the quarterfinals:
-Though he was named after James Bond, his first name is pronounced "Hamez," which makes this headline even worse than it already was...
This has to be the worst headline ever written pic.twitter.com/toWHhpNWlp
— Ross Loraine (@RossLoraine) July 1, 2014
-Rodriguez turns 23 on July 12 (he's just seven months older than Neymar) – the day before the World Cup final.
-He currently leads the tournament with five goals – one more than Messi and Neymar. Yet all three have the same number of shots (15).
-He either plays on the left wing or in a more central role behind the strikers and can create goals with the same flair with which he scores them.
-He wears Colombia's No. 10 shirt, which was previously worn by legendary creative midfielder Carlos Valderrama. He has his first name on the back of it because when you're named after James Bond, that's what you do.
-Valderrama recently compared Rodriguez to himself, saying, "For many years people always ask me who will be the next 'El Pibe', the Colombians said the same too, the answer is James Rodriguez and he's already showing that he's earned this honor and will show this for many, many years."
-His stunning volley against Uruguay has already been turned into a more beautiful piece of artwork than it started as.
-Scoring wonder goals is old hat to Rodriguez, though. Here he is scoring directly from a corner kick at the age of 13...
-After winning three consecutive domestic titles and the Europa League with Porto, Monaco acquired Rodriguez for €45 million ($61.2 million) last summer. This made him the second most expensive Colombian player of all time behind Monaco teammate Falcao (€60 million/$81.6 million), who was unable to play in this World Cup due to injury.
-He's been married to the sister of Colombia teammate David Ospina for three years and their daughter, Salome, is his most adorable fan.
-But one of his newest fans is NBA star LeBron James...
-This is all just a means to support his true passion of being a shampoo pitchman.
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