During the World Cup, there was a lot of “When will James get a move to a big club” talk swirling around the soccer sphere, even if it all seemed a little premature. “He’s so good,” your ‘please think I’m smart’ friend would argue, as if Monaco paying £38.5 million to get him from Porto didn’t already tip us off.
Paying those prices, Monaco was already acting like a big club, even if it was resigned to the neglected confines of Ligue 1. It’s part of the reason why few noticed when James led the circuit in assists, helping countryman and former Porto teammate Radamal Falaco return the Red and Whites to the highest level.
So unlike so many “one to watch” conversations might have implied, James didn’t just show up in Brazil with a handkerchief tied to the end of a stick. Some described him as the next it thing, but there was no next about it. After shining in Falcao’s absence during the 2014 World Cup, earning calls to be named player of the tournament (and honor that eventually went to Lionel Messi), James was the name on everyone’s lips. He created his own shop window.
This was much bigger than his already big move to Monaco. Perhaps ironically, maybe even paradoxically, he’d fulfilled to the cross-eyed hype that proceeded the World Cup. Now, when people asked “When will James get a move to a big club,” there was only one club they were talking about. When would Real Madrid make its move?
At 23-years-old, over a six-year period, James has successfully navigated from playing in Colombia to a career in Argentina, Portugal, France, then Spain, winning the Golden Ball at the World Cup (as the tournament’s top scorer) along the way. Unwilling to see a new Galáctico play out another season in Ligue 1, El Real forked over £63 million for his signature. If there’s somebody the soccer world’s talking about, Florentino Pérez has to have him.
Still, there was a quest of fit. At the time, many believed James was little more than a luxury buy for the European champions, particularly considering all of the expensive talent already on display at the Santiago Bernabéu. But James very quickly shushed that idea.
This was James announcing his arrival in Madrid, scoring his first La Liga goal. It should come with obscenities.
Unfortunately, James is now boxed in a corner with all of the tools necessary to become a horrible person. Skilled, rich, proficient, accomplished and young, James should be out clubbing and tempting tabloids for … well, the reasons why one lands on the front pages of such respected journals. But no, he just won’t give us any reasons to hate him.
He thanks his fans — his nearly 5.5 million fans on Instagram. He takes adorable pictures with his daughter.
He was, accordingly, named the Sexiest Man of the Year by People en Español.
What else does he have to do in life, other than keep dancing after goals? He’s 23, on top of the world, and doesn’t play for José Mourinho. He could ask for more, but it already seems like he’s getting everything he wants.
So what else can James get himself into before he turns 30? We’re scared to find out. Right now, however, he’s taking one of the final steps in his soccer career – moving into the stratosphere of the world’s soccer talents.
The Fake numbers
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