James Rodriguez benefiting from no Champions League football

James Rodriguez playing for Columbia

Playing less games in the 2013-14 season has enabled the Monaco attacker to become arguably the star of the World Cup so far.

 

James Rodriguez has long proved he is one of the world's best young players.

 

He was the captain of the 2011 Toulon Tournament-winning Colombia Under-20 side and in the same year he won the LPFP Award for Breakthrough Player of 2011-12 Primeira Liga season at age 20.

 

Rodriguez then won the Portuguese Golden Ball the following year, awarded by newspaper A Bola who adjudged him to be the best player in the league for that season.

 

With all that said it is not altogether surprising to see him light up the World Cup at present despite his still relatively tender age. 

 

What should not be forgotten however is that the former Porto player has been given somewhat of a helping hand.

 

That is the advantage of not playing in the Champions League after Monaco failed to qualify from the previous season.

 

As a result he will undoubtedly have greater reserves of energy having played less games compared to his peers who did participate in Europe's elite club competition, such as Neymar, Lionel Messi and Shaqiri.

 

Who is to say Rodriguez would not have performed just as well with those extra matches yet it cannot be denied that coming into this World Cup fresh has given him the platform to produce the goods for his country.

 

And playing under Brazil's hot climate the value of feeling fitter and fresher cannot be underestimated. It has given Rodriguez an edge that quite frankly, the teams that have come up against him have been unable to handle.

 

The tournament exploits of both Messi and Neymar in contrast are more admirable in a way, competing in a much tougher league and against one another for the biggest prizes as they do.

 

This is all not to suggest that Rodriguez can count himself soley fortunate. Far from it in fact. His quality is unquestionable and where Arjen Robben is starring for the Netherlands with his marauding runs the 22-year-old is showing himself to be a more complete player.

A creative force if ever there was one; three goals and crucially two assists already in the group stages testifies as much.

 

How long this continues remains to be seen but if Colombia are serious about making inroads at the World Cup then they will need Rodriguez to remain firing on all cylinders.

 

With only 38 appearances to his name last season, the number 10 should have plenty left in the tank to do just that.

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