SI Staff
Wednesday October 15th, 2014

James Rodriguez's popularity and rising status in the international game has made him quite a marked man.

Minutes after the World Cup Golden Boot winner and Real Madrid star ripped another golazo for Colombia, lifting Los Cafeteros to a 1-0 win over Canada in a friendly at Red Bull Arena, Rodriguez was the target of another pitch invader – and promptly signed his shirt after asking security to hold him in place. What's more, Rodriguez put his arm around the fan without hesitation after signing for him, applauded the fans in attendance and was seamlessly substituted out of the game.

It's the second time in three months something like this has happened to Rodriguez. During his presentation to Real Madrid fans at Estadio Santiao Bernabeu in July after he signed with the club, a pitch invader ran at him and was tackled by security, only for Rodriguez to take him under his arm, give him a souvenir Brazuca and escort him off the field. 

Fortunately neither fan ran out with malicious intent, but the bigger question is why security continually fails to prevent pitch invaders from reaching their intended high-profile targets.

Also on Tuesday, Lionel Messi signed for a fan in Hong Kong during Argentina's friendly. Just a couple of weeks ago, Ronaldinho signed a shirt of a Queretaro pitch invader during a game (and went on to hit a sumptuous free kick to score a consolation goal). During the UEFA Super Cup between Real Madrid and Sevilla, a fan hugged and kissed Cristiano Ronaldo. Even in the USA's friendly against Ecuador last Friday, a fan ran out and posed for a picture with Ecuador's goalkeeper without as much of a minor challenge from security and then jumped back into the stands without a problem.

It's all fun and games, for now. Hopefully it stays that way.

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