Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Who is he? Where does he play?

He is Porto's 21 year old winger who has seemingly blossomed into one of the most coveted young players in Europe. Take the time to peruse around your local newsagent and you will the see the name of James Rodriguez, the play-maker who crazy-haired icon Carlos Valderrama identified as his successor as the stand out player of Colombian football, naming him "El Nuevo Pibe" (the new kid) as opposed to Valderrama's "El Pibe" (the Kid).

But what if we can't make it down to the local newsagents?

It's a free country after all and we can't force the motivation for people to stop lazing around and get down the shop, but what we can do is cater for your needs and tell you that Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder, able to play right across the attack. He plays predominantly on the left wing, but his versatility allows him to switch fluidly with Jackson Martinez, his fellow Colombian at Porto, who plays on the right.

His direct playing style, in which he favours dribbling at defenders instead of slowing play down to thread passes through in the final third, has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. This is down to his upper-body strength and sharp mind, which allows him to make the right decisions when playing at a high octane pace in attack. He isn't as tall and imposing as Ronaldo however, standing at just 6ft, he can drift around with his low centre of gravity and make attacking runs from almost any angle.

Cristiano Ronaldo!? That means he's very good. 

He definitely has the same characteristics, intelligent wing-play partnered with impressive athleticism. An average of 9.2 crosses per game and an average of 83% passes per game in the Champions League shows how unselfish his game can be, showing productivity with his creativity. He can also finish chances off with astute composure as his 10 goals from 18 games has helped Porto to move to the brink of another Liga Sagres title this season. His 2.9 shots per game suggests just how direct his game can be. 

Ooohhh... tell me more about his past....

He's only 21 remember, but his individual record is very impressive. He won the 2011 Toulon tournament as captain with Colombia's under-20 side, also being voted as the tournament's best player. He also captained the side at the 2011 under-20 World Cup, earning him a fast-track promotion to the senior squad, for whom he's made 12 appearances. He was also clocked at number 59 on the Guardian's countdown of the 100 Best Players in the World.

At club level, he won last season's LPFP award for breakthrough player and also won the Liga Sagres Golden Ball, which recognises Portugal's best domestic player, for 2012, becoming the youngest ever player to do so. After Andre Villas Boas gave the youngster a chance back in 2011, he has progressed rapidly and the £5 million Porto spent on him in 2009 seems now to be an absolute bargain.

He'll surely bring in a tidy profit then?

That's if Porto decide to sell of course. Manchester United have reportedly already had a £30 million bid knocked back as Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be a big admirer of the winger. Manchester United have still been repeatedly linked with the Colombian, with Nani and Anderson both mentioned as potential makeweights. Athletico Madrid have also been linked with the player who has a huge reputation right across the continent.

No comments:

Post a Comment