Why James Rodriguez Will Be a Future Ballon d'Or Contender

Dan ColasimoneContributor IJuly 15, 2014

Colombia's James Rodriguez, right, gets away from Brazil's Paulinho during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Brazil and Colombia at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

He may have already been well-known to Colombians and fans of the clubs he has played for, but James Rodriguez made a name of himself on the global stage with a series of sublime displays at the 2014 World Cup.

With the obvious talents he possesses, and based on his performances in that tournament, the 23-year-old is surely a future contender for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

A club career that has taken him to Envigado, Banfield, Porto and Monaco established James as a brilliant playmaker and rising star, and in Brazil he proved that the hype building around him was justified.

Though he might have only come to worldwide attention in the last month, it should not be forgotten that the Colombian commanded an enormous transfer fee of €45 million when he moved from Porto to Monaco.

During the World Cup he showed why he is rated so highly.

The No. 10 took command of a Colombia side that had been expected to struggle in attack without their injured talisman, Radamel Falcao.

Though James is a different type of player than the out-and-out striker Falcao, his sensational form ensured that Los Cafeteros were still potent going forward.

Occupying the role of a traditional South American playmaker, James conducted the majority of his team's offensive manoeuvres, either through the middle or down one of the wider channels.

He has the elegant movements and graceful passing of an old-school No. 10, but he also brings an impressive physicality to the table, offering pace and an aerial threat. 

He also brought goals. With six strikes to his name before Colombia were eliminated in the quarter-finals, Rodriquez was the Golden Boot winner in Brazil.

The fact that, at a relatively young age, this player could take full advantage of his natural gifts on football's biggest stage shows that he also has the mental strength to become a true star of the game.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28:  James Rodriguez of Colombia celebrates scoring his team's second goal and his second of the game during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de
Clive Rose/Getty Images

On the back of his summer showings, James may even be a contender for the Ballon d'Or at the end of this season, though he would have to really shine at club level to see off the likes of Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben and a host of German players.

In the years to come, though, the Colombian will surely be a genuine contender for the prize, especially if he moves to a club with a higher profile.

As Adam Shergold reports in the Daily Mail, Spanish paper Marca has linked Rodriguez with Real Madrid.

Should this emerging idol establish himself as a key player at Real or another club of similar stature, it is only a matter of time before he is mentioned among the world's best players.

James' future is looking bright, and if he one day claims a Ballon d'Or award, it would not be at all surprising.