Scout Report: James Rodriguez
At just 22, James Rodriguez is considered as one of the best wingers in the world. An ability to deliver passes that cut the opposition’s defence with rather ease, Rodriguez has made waves on the European circuit.
Who is James Rodriguez?
A Colombian by birth, James Rodriguez now plays for French side AS Monaco. Regarded as one of the finest talents around the world, Rodriguez has proved time and again why he might be the next great thing in football.
A player with a powerful left foot, Rodriguez made his presence felt with Portuguese side Porto with whom he won a handful of league titles and also the Europe League in 2011. After a few very successful years with Porto, Rodriguez moved on to join French club AS Monaco.
Born in Cicuta, Columbia, Rodriguez started his professional career with Colombian second division club, Envigado FC in 2006. 30 appearances was all he needed as soon he was signed by Club Atlético Banfield from Argentina.
He soon became a vital cog for Banfield and he led them to their first Argentine Championship in their club history as he played every game that season. 2010 was the year Rodriguez got himself onto the world map as he delivered the goods in the Copa Libertadores and thereby increased his reputation.
After 3 successful seasons at Banfield, Rodriguez moved on to play for Portuguese giants Porto for a fee of 5.1 million Euros. Porto, a club famous for finding talents out of nowhere got to know about Rodriguez and his abilities with the ball and they soon signed him.
Rodriguez had a very successful debut season with Porto as in just 24 appearances, he scored 6 goals and 8 assists while also playing a part in the Europa league. Stellar performances in 2011 which included 14 goals and a handful of assists ensured that Rodriguez didn’t become a fringe player of sorts for Porto.
The following season was by far his most impressive and the one that ensured that everyone now knew who James Rodriguez was. He soon became a regular starter for the Dragoes and he was given the no.10 shirt.
And with seasoned campaigners like Hulk and countrymen Radamel Falcao and Fredy Guarin having left the Estadio Do Dragao, Rodriguez’s role at Porto became more important than ever. He finished the season with 13 goals and 15 assists to his credit.
With 8 trophies in just 3 years at Porto, Rodriguez moved on and he eventually landed at Monaco who paid Porto a whooping 45 million Euros. While some felt he was far too expensive, James Rodriguez has repaid the faith posted in him by Claudio Ranieri as he has netted in 10 goals and has given 13 assists this season.
Style of play
Rodriguez generally plays as an attacking midfielder for Colombia. Rodriguez’s pace and zip on either flank would provide his country a different dimension altogether in this World Cup. A team consisting of Adrian Ramos, Jackson Martinez, Luis Muriel and Radamel Falcao would surely like to call upon his services this World Cup and it would be interesting to see as to how he would fare in the World Cup.
Rodriguez can play anywhere across the midfield. Also, Rodriguez can play on both sides of the pitch. He can shift from a left or right attacking midfielder role to a central attacking midfielder role with rather ease. And it is this quality that makes him such a versatile player.
Considered to be one of the best talents across the globe, Rodriguez has great vision on the pitch and is mentally very sharp. Rodriguez is technically very sound and he possesses tremendous speed. He can be extremely quick on the counter and this is quite an asset for a team like Monaco (and Columbia) who have in their team a deadly finisher like Radamel Falcao.
Rodriguez is a selfless player and this often leads to passes that lead to goals. Also, he can be selfish when needed and this is when he unleashes his magic. He makes the impossible possible and scores goals. Also, his creativity is one factor which makes him a tad better than the rest in his age group.
One of the few weakness Rodriguez has is his aerial ability. Although six feet tall, Rodriguez isn’t someone who can head with authority and he isn’t one who is suited to head the ball.
Another issue with Rodriguez is his strength. He is quite weak and he is often disposed with by the sheer usage of brute force by opponents. He must put in some effort to increase his strength as he often loses it out in good positions.
Currently valued at 40 million euros, Rodriguez has had a host of big clubs trying to get his signature. English clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea have tried to buy him. Udinese, Juventus and Inter Milan are a few Italian clubs that have expressed their interest.
With so many big clubs trying to woo the Colombian midfielder, it would certainly be a tough choice for him. But Monaco having bought him for a huge amount won’t be too happy in selling him so soon and it’d surely be interesting to see as to where he would land up in the future.
Rodriguez’s imperative blossoming may finally reach its pinnacle at Brazil where he might show the world that he is not a talent anymore. He is the envy of many a player in the world and why shouldn’t he? And it’d certainly not be surprising if he manages to be the successor to either Ronaldo or Messi.