He was a shy, stuttering boy who envied his teammates’ overconfidence. But as soon as he laced up his boots and entered the field, all fears disappeared. It was not easy for him to speak, but when you are with the ball, words are not needed.
When he was 12, James scored goals from corners. At the age of 14, he made his professional debut. There were no questions: this guy was special.
Shy but not cowardly, James left his native Colombia at a very young age and moved to Argentina. In 2014, this kid impressed the whole world with his performances at the World Championships. Soon he was already trying on a Real Madrid jersey, and it seemed that nothing would stop him from becoming the new legend of the “creamy”. But now it’s 2020, and the midfielder is in favor of the relatively modest Everton. How did it happen? We asked those who know James personally.
Don’t assume that Banfield’s (first-ever) championship shortly after James’s move is an accident. Julio’s coach Cesar Falcioni then immediately put the 17-year-old player at the base, who did not waste time, immediately starting to score. When he became the youngest foreigner to score a goal in Argentina, the coach was not surprised.
“He was on my team at the age of 17,” recalls the 64-year-old specialist. – We have made adjustments to his position. He was enganche, ten. We had four midfielders who were moving forward. One of them was Khames, but not in the center, because the opponent’s halfbacks would have simply devoured him. We played on the left flank. He grasped everything on the fly – this is his strong point. And his progress was amazing. ”
When James turned 18, Banfield was celebrating the championship, and Falcioni wondered what to do with such a talent.
“I said there’s no limit to his potential,” he admitted to DirectTV in 2014. “He is an outstanding footballer. He has everything to become a star. I am flattered that he remembers us and admits that we helped him. We love it when the players do that, because that’s what we live for. ”
The Argentinean Falcioni was happy, and the football fans in Colombia were just happy. A native of their country played in the same team with Cristiano Ronaldo himself – how can you not be proud?
Rodriguez alone has seriously changed the reputation of Colombia.
“The story of Rodriguez is the story of a kid who overcame all adversity – poverty, stuttering, – to be successful, – says Colombian TV commentator Juan Arango. – For us, he is a source of national pride. Let me remind you that we were previously mentioned in the news solely because of people like Pablo Escobar. And we are proud to be represented on the world stage by such personalities as Egan Bernal, Falcao, Shakira, Jay Balvin and Maluma. ”
At Goodison Park, Hames came as a star, and nothing (especially at home) prevents him from remaining the main footballer of Colombia. He is still the eighth most popular athlete on social media, behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale for this factor. But is he still the same footballer who moved with fanfare to Real Madrid? Hardly. In any case, they think so in Madrid.
The capital club this summer, well, really wanted to get rid of another star player, whose salary does not reflect his importance to the team. We do not know how much the “toffee” cost to sign it: some say about 20 million pounds, while others say that the midfielder was worth nothing at all. The truth is most likely somewhere in between. Be that as it may, Everton were lucky to have such a player.
You could say that this is a regression for him, but the player himself is only glad to be on the team where he is needed … Now is the time to prove your status. His friends are sure that he will not fail:
“Everyone has an opinion, but James has always been a winner. He knows how to deal with the pressure, says his teammate Carlos Valdez. – He clearly knows his obligations. He remembers that everywhere he represents his country. He is a born leader, because victories are in his blood. There are leaders of different plans, and he is one of those who does not like to chat. He always helps the team with his performances. In Colombia’s history, there have been few such significant footballers, and no one has ever won as much as he did. ”
There is a billboard in Times Square that shows a smiling James in an Everton T-shirt.
Sunbathers on Miami beaches watch as an advertising boat floats past them with a photo of a Colombian.
Torre Colpatria, formerly the tallest skyscraper in Colombia, painted in blue and got number 19.
This is how Everton announced their signing to the whole world. Liverpool hopes that the high-profile transfer will be a serious investment in the club’s future. In 48 hours, more than 400 million people learned about the purchase. More than 4 million people watched the video of the announcement on Twitter.
In honor of James, pages in Spanish and Portuguese were launched, as well as the network of stores selling club equipment was expanded. They talk about plans to locate offices in Florida or Southern California – it is no coincidence that the club’s American audience has grown by 743 percent in the past four years.
Everton’s compatriot Erri Mina is already playing, and Colombian analyst Adrian Magnoli is sure that interest in the matches of the English club will increase: “Not everyone is obsessed with football, but everyone loves James. Even in spite of his injuries and poor shape, he is still our national hero.
People close to football were not always his fans: he either trains well or badly, and one can understand why Zidane was in no hurry to put him on the games. This is football. But 90 percent of the population adores him anyway. Colombians are crazy about sports idols. On social networks, “Vamos, Everton!” Is being distributed from all sides. Our streets will soon be filled with people in blue T-shirts. ”