Over the course of the month of October, we were given major indications as to how the season is going to develop across Europe—and nowhere more so than in Spain, where Real Madrid scored 22 goals and won all six of their fixtures across three competitions.
At the centre of everything was summer signing James Rodriguez, who claims Bleacher Report's "Biggest Star in World Football" award for October in spite of the fact that his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a remarkable 12 successive games.
James has not been goal-shy, hitting the back of the net on three occasions over the last month and providing a further three assists.
While marked on November 1, his latest effort this past weekend was a classic goal to remember:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Was James Rodriguez's ridiculous volley the goal of the day? https://t.co/M0JqYIBxP82014-11-1 22:33:57
The 23-year-old has settled rapidly into life in the Spanish capital with the club he supported as a youngster, dismissing fears that he could be inhibited by the pressure of an €80 million transfer fee and accommodating for the exit of Angel Di Maria.
Thus far, despite incredible pressure, he appears more than up to the task. To top off his incredible start to life in Madrid, he was also rewarded for his endeavours at the summer's World Cup with a nomination for the upcoming 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or.
As reported by Mail Online's Ashley Clements, international teammate Mario Yepes was among those highly supportive of his nomination:
Can James compete with Cristiano Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi for the Ballon d’Or? I’m sure that given what he achieved at the World Cup, he’s got what it takes to challenge them
He’s also showing that he was signed by Real Madrid on merit and has tons of potential. Let’s hope he can push Ronaldo and Messi all the way, and why not?
James' star has never been higher than at the present time, with his initial exploits at Real Madrid only building upon the worldwide reputation he achieved in Brazil this summer. Despite excellent seasons with Porto and Monaco, he had remained under the radars of many more casual football fans.
The man with the golden left foot is now very much a superstar, though.
Per WhoScored.com, only Ronaldo (2.8) creates more opportunities for colleagues per game than the Colombian. He is also the club's No. 3 scorer in league action behind both the Portuguese and main striker Karim Benzema.
B/R's Karl Matchett has been one of those highly impressed by James' contributions:
Karl Matchett @karlmatchett
Real Madrid's best player of late has been James Rodriguez. Ancelotti switching midfield and having him free from right is perfect.2014-11-3 14:47:35
Karl Matchett @karlmatchett
Movement, plenty of confidence on the ball, linking very well with Benzema down that channel, plus an overlapping full-back. Impressive.2014-11-3 14:47:58
The club's changes in personnel over the summer have forced some tactical alterations from manager Carlo Ancelotti, and, after a slow start, they appear to be coming into effect. A technically gifted midfield four of Isco, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Rodriguez is beginning to emerge, playing narrow but allowing the two wider players freedom to create.
James was never going to be a like-for-like replacement for Di Maria and, indeed, hasn't tried to be. He has also not been quite as central to the club's attacking shape as he was with Colombia this summer, for example, but he has adapted with ease to his role on the right.
Football has been waiting for the next great star to join Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and James could be that man. At Real Madrid, he has the perfect platform to reach such heights.
In October, James has made big strides in taking himself to such levels. Now, he must continue to embed himself deep into this Real side as they hunt for further honours over the months and years ahead. If he does so, plenty more awards and nominations doubtless lie in wait.