Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez was always going to be remembered as a breakout star from the 2014 World Cup, but now he has some hardware to back up that claim.
Rodriguez's six goals were enough to claim the World Cup's Golden Boot as top scorer, as he edged Germany's Thomas Muller, who scored five for a second straight World Cup. Neymar, Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie each scored four to tie for third in the race.
Rodriguez became a revelation during Colombia's spirited run to the quarterfinals, scoring in each of Los Cafeteros' group games and again in the round of 16 against Uruguay with a goal that is among the top candidates for the tournament's best strike. He also accounted for two assists.
Rodriguez, who was a finalist for the World Cup's Golden Ball as best overall player -- an award that went to Argentina's Lionel Messi -- was in tears as Colombia exited the tournament at the hands of Brazil, but he was given the ultimate sign of respect after the match. Brazil defender David Luiz consoled him as they exchanged jerseys and then urged the crowd to give Rodriguez an ovation in one of the more touching moments of sportsmanship during the competition.
A standout at Ligue 1 club Monaco, Rodriguez has been reportedly courted by the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United. He fetched a €45 million transfer fee last summer when moving from Porto to Monaco.