The best player in the World Cup has been James Rodriguez, and he could still claim the Golden Boot despite Colombia losing in the quarterfinals. He did not just appear in the soccer world as he was part of one of the most expensive moves in world football last year when he moved to AS Monaco for $61 million. Rodriguez returned home to a hero’s welcome and again handled the spotlight well. He was the face of Colombia in the World Cup and could become the face of a new club as transfer rumors will continue.
Colombia arrived at an El Dorado airport and were greeted by the masses in the airport and on the streets. As their bus crept through the throngs of people, Rodriguez graciously addressed the crowd thanking them for always being there. Rodriguez took the microphone when the team made it to Simon Bolivar park and showed why he is also a class act off the field. He took a moment to recognize Radamel Falcao, who was unable to compete in the World Cup because of injury. In many ways Rodriguez replaced Falcao as the team’s identity, but it is clear that Rodriguez understands his place in history.
James Rodríguez no olvida a Radamel Falcao en recibimiento de la Selección de Colombia. Gran gesto. pic.twitter.com/J8mKzfeC0g
— Invictos (@SomosInvictos) July 6, 2014
Rodriguez was gracious in defeat, and now he will be one of the most coveted players in the summer transfer window. AS Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev has said that neither Rodriguez nor Falcao are for sale, but that will not stop the offers. Monaco have plenty of financial backing and will head back to the Champions League next season. Moving Rodriguez could potentially clean up the books for any Financial Fair Play investigation.
Manchester United is readying an $88 million bid for the 22-year-old Rodriguez. The bid is said to include many bonuses and incentives that could take the final figure to around $122 million. Some feel that Rodriguez could try to force this move citing his previously stated love for English football. However, Rodriguez put that reasoning to bed in a Q&A with Adidas.
“I have said in the past that I would like to play in Spain one day, because it is a league that is good technically and where you get a lot of touches on the ball, which is my style. The Premier League is maybe a bit physical at this stage.”
Spanish paper Marca has identified Real Madrid as the latest team in the Rodriguez sweepstakes. The story says that Rodriguez has ‘class, flexibility, leadership, impact and personality,’ which are all qualities that fit in with Real Madrid.
If you did not know James Rodriguez before the World Cup, you do now. Do not expect his name to go away. He will be a star for whichever club team he plays for next year and a force in Russia in 2018. Luckily, he handles the spotlight well and is a joy to watch.