|Life After Football|
It’s now 2 weeks until the World Cup kicks off in Russia and we've been counting down the days with a World Cup throwback every Thursday until then.
Last week we had scenes of despair as the star of USA 94, Roberto Baggio, skied his penalty in the decisive moment of the final. So this week, how about some scenes a little happier?
Going into the last World Cup in Brazil, there was a special buzz around the South American nations. On the soil of their own football crazy continent, with the colourful and vibrant support especially present, there was extra motivation for the likes of Colombia in 2014.
Their campaign was also set to project one of their players to superstar status as Los Cafeteros brewed up something amazing in Brazil, despite the absence of their star player and captain, Radamel Falcao. With the striker only there as something of a prestigious cheerleader, the goalscoring void was filled by James Rodriguez.
From his skilful dribble and delicate chip against Japan in the final group game...
...to his spectacular volley against Uruguay in the round of 16...
...the 22-year-old announced himself on the biggest stage of all in style, scoring in every game he and Colombia played in before being narrowly defeated by the hosts in the quarter-final.
A teary James waved goodbye to those same incredible supporters that had inspired Colombia's impressive campaign after the quarter-final defeat and images of David Luiz and others, pointing to Colombia's number 10 in appreciation have become iconic. Not to mention the images of that enormous insect landing on the guy's arm as he stepped up and cooly slotted a penalty in the final ten minutes of that game. It was almost as if his form was powered by nature.
He was truly unstoppable in Brazil, picking up the Golden Boot despite not even making the semi-finals - not bad for a player yet to establish himself in the upper echelons of the game.
Already highly-rated by scouts across the globe, James was playing for Porto when the 2014 World Cup came around. However, such displays, leading his country at a young age and doing so by scoring 6 World Cup goals, led to Europe's finest chasing his signature. Real Madrid won it, with the transfer of Rodriguez like the final chapter of a fairytale World Cup from 2014.
As for 2018, we'll have to wait and who will be the 'next James.' Who will emerge as one of the best in the world on the biggest stage of them all this time around? Only 2 weeks to go...