James David Rodríguez Rubio (born 12 July 1991), commonly known as James Rodríguez or James, is a Colombian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Premier League club Everton and the Colombia national team. He has been praised for his technique, vision and playmaking skills, and often referred as the successor to his compatriot Carlos Valderrama.
Starting his career at Envigado, and then moving to Argentina side Banfield, James became well known in Europe during his time at Porto, winning several trophies and individual awards during his three years at the club. In 2014, James moved from AS Monaco to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of £63 million, which beat the one set by Radamel Falcao and made him the most expensive Colombian football player and one of the most expensive players at the time. In his debut season, he was named in the La Liga Team of the Season and won La Liga Best Midfielder. In 2017, he signed for German club Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal.
James started his international career with the Colombia under-20 team, with which he won the 2011 Toulon Tournament. He then captained the U-20 team during the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Due to his performance in the tournament, he was regularly called into the senior squad by the age of 20. He played in the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup, winning the Golden Boot as the top goalscorer in the former tournament and being included in the Cup’s All Star Team. He also represented his nation at the 2015 Copa América, the Copa América Centenario in 2016, and the 2019 Copa América, winning a third-place medal in 2016.
James joined Premier League club Everton on a free transfer in September 2020 and signed a two-year deal, with a club option for a third season. The deal once again reunited him with manager Carlo Ancelotti. He made his debut later that month in a 1–0 away win against Tottenham Hotspur in their first game of the 2020–21 Premier League season. The following week he scored his first goal for Everton on his home debut, a 5–2 league win against West Bromwich Albion. James scored two goals and provided an assist for his international teammate Yerry Mina in a 4–2 victory at Goodison Park against Brighton & Hove Albion on 3 October 2020. James added to his goal tally against Manchester United in a 3–3 at Old Trafford on 6 February 2021.
Once considered to be among the best young players in the world, James is a versatile footballer who can play in several positions across the midfield or front-line, having played as a playmaker, winger, and central midfielder for both club and country, although he has stated in interviews that his preferred role is as an attacking midfielder behind the strikers. Praised for his pace, technical skills, vision, and his ability to create chances for teammates as an advanced playmaker, James’ performances as a classic number 10 have led to comparisons with the famous Colombian footballer Carlos Valderrama; Valderrama himself declared James as his “successor”.