Uruguay became the latest victims to fall at the feet of Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez, with the Monaco man bagging both goals that saw La Celeste eliminated from the World Cup.
The man they call ‘Ham-ez’ struck in either half, one an absolute scorcher, to take his tournament tally to five goals and set up a Los Cafeteros quarter-final date with hosts Brazil, a match they’re priced at 33/10 to win.
Playing in the French league and Portuguese equivalent prior to that, Rodriguez won’t have been a name universally recognised prior to the 2014 samba jamboree, but now there’s sure to be a string of the world’s elite clamouring for his signature.
However, before rushing in with a face-melting sum of money for the 22-year-old, prospective purchasers should prioritise his Colombian comrade Juan Cuadrado.
The Fiorentina man is reportedly attracting interest from Barcelona and Bayern Munchen, but with a buy-out clause believed to be around the €30m mark, he could be a much better value-for-money buy than Rodriguez.
No player has out-assisted the 26-year-old’s four at the World Cup, while his 97 per cent pass completion rate in his country’s last-16 clash was a game high for any player to have featured longer than 30 minutes.
Of all the Colombians to have started at least three times in Brazil he boasts the best pass completion rate in the squad, with 87.4 per cent of his balls finding their mark.
Yet, laser-eye accuracy isn’t his only asset.
In Serie A last term he was on the scoresheet an impressive 11 times, a total that only two midfielders – Jose Callejon of Napoli and Lazio’s Antonio Candreva – could best.
It’s his lightning pace and effortless ability to glide past defenders that makes him such a hot property, though.
Representing La Viola in 2013/14 he averaged 3.7 dribbles every time he took to the field and his dazzling feet earned 3.6 fouls per match.
Weighing in with 1.8 tackles on average too, he’s the epitome of a complete player and, at a fraction of Rodriguez’s worth, he should be the most sought-after Colombian at the World Cup.