2014 FIFA World Cup Value Inflation: James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez has been the breakout star of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Rodriguez scored six goals in five appearances, making him a strong candidate for both the Adidas Golden Boot and Adidas Golden Ball awards, which are awarded to the top scorer and the MVP of the tournament.
With Real Madrid C.F.’s interestin Rodriguez, AS Monaco FC doubled his valuation to $102 million, compared to the price they paid one year earlier. Both Monaco and any suitors would be foolish to value Rodriguez at that price after only five games.
The World Cup is a tournament where the maximum amount of games played by the most successful nation is seven. Can an accurate assessment really be made on potential transfer targets after a handful of games? Compare this to a full professional season in which the average team contests over 38 games.
Seven games is not an adequately large sample size to get a good read on the abilities of a particular player. In the English Premier League 2013-14 season, after seven games Southampton placed fourth above Manchester City, who spent $175 million in transfers compared to Southampton’s $62 million. In fact, if the season were to end at that point, it would be Southampton with a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot over both Manchester City and Manchester United, both of which are considered perennial favorites for both competitions.
Cristiano Ronaldo, a player considered to be one of the best in the world, failed to shine for Portugal in the World Cup. Judging by his performance in this World Cup, teams would be crazy to invest in him. However, Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 47 appearances for Real Madrid this year. Real Madrid went on to win the UEFA Champions League, as Ronaldo smashed the record for goals scored in a single Champions League campaign.
Long-term consistency has cemented Ronaldo as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, not his performance in a handful of games.
There is no doubt that Rodriguez is a great player, but suitors should consider the fact that his current valuation is over a five game period.
The FIFA World Cup is the most heavily anticipated sporting event in the world, but a seven game performance should not be the final indicator in signing a player. Other key variables in player success might be adaptability to a new club, country, league and continent. These factors require considerable scouting and research that far exceeds the timeline of the World Cup.