Continuing its look back at what many people regard as one of the greatest FIFA World Cup™ competitions of all time, FIFA.com spoke to none other than the competition’s top scorer, Colombian idol James Rodriguez.
Now plying his trade at Real Madrid, the attacking midfielder, who scored six goals in five games at last year’s world finals, accepted the challenge already faced by Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben: to watch and discuss, with no prior warning, some of the key moments of a competition in which Colombia reached the last eight for the first time in their history.
In reliving a memorable tournament, James tells us why he rates his goal against Japan even more highly than his last-16 thunderbolt against Uruguay. As well as discussing the importance of record-breaking goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon in the Cafetero line-up, the Colombia star talks about Cristiano Ronaldo, his side’s quarter-final elimination at the hands of Brazil, and the chat he had with David Luiz at the end of that game.
The video is available for you to watch now. Just click “play” and let FIFA.com take you and James back to the moments that made Brazil 2014 such a special tournament.
James on the goal against Japan…
I see that and it brings back good memories. That was a tough game, I came in and thank God I managed to score and make two assists. That game is a great memory.
Of all the goals I scored at the World Cup that was the one I liked the best. I wanted to score, and the game was about to finish. It was a long through-ball I ran on to, after which I managed to round the last defender with a feint and dink it over the keeper. This is the one I liked best, besides the one I scored against Uruguay. But personally I liked this one better.
For the Uruguay one I had my back to goal and volleyed it from way out. The ball could have missed the target, you never know. This one required a delicate touch to finish it like I did, which made it more complicated.
On Cristiano Ronaldo…
Cristiano is excellent, both on and off the pitch. He’s ‘a ten out of ten’. For me, he deserved his Ballon d’Or victory for what he’s achieved. He’s an excellent player and an excellent person. And he’s very modest.
We have a very good relationship. Out on the pitch, everyone knows how valuable he is, but it’s impressive to watch how he trains and works off the pitch. That’s where you see the real Cristiano, and you understand why he is where he is.
On Faryd Mondragon…
That was a historic moment. Faryd, being 43 years old, managing to play once again in a World Cup. That’s not easy. But it was the perfect timing: we were winning that game, we’d already qualified for the next round. So José (Pekerman) told him to play. I was very happy for him.
We talked before about the possibility, in case we would be leading. And that’s what happened, so I wish him the best of luck. I hope he always remains with us.
Oh, yes… the bug…
It was an unusual game, with a lot of fouls and bickering. They began really going in hard on me, the referee was a bit lenient, but it’s all in the past now. These are sad images for me, but what matters is that we made history and that we have a young group who can continue to improve. This group has a huge desire to do things well and win a lot of things.
David Luiz wished me luck, and told me to be strong because I had an excellent tournament. He told me I am ‘an ace’, that was it…