Colombia’s James Rodriguez has been named as one of the 30 most valuable young soccer players in the world by a Portuguese sports publication.
The F.C Porto winger and Colombian international ranked 17th in the list complied by Portuguese journal “Futebol Finance.” Rodriguez was the second highest South American, behind Brazil’s Neymar who topped the rankings.
The analysis of the players’ value took into account their age, wages, and the size of their current club. Rodriguez, at only 20 years of age, has already become one of F.C Porto’s prized assets, along with Brazilian Hulk. Last June the club extended his contract for two years and increased his buy-out clause to nearly $60 million. Under the terms of the contract his yearly salary is over $1.3 million.
Rodriguez is currently third in Portuguese league’s scoring charts, despite operating from a wide role and receiving relatively little playing time.
“The coach is often criticized for leaving him on the bench, and sometimes only gives him one half [of play],” said Portuguese sports journalist Rui Frias.
These glimpses of his talent have persuaded some of Europe’s biggest clubs to consider signing him in recent months, including Juventus and Internazionale of Italy and England’s Manchester United and Chelsea F.C.
Other South Americans on the Futebol Finance list were Brazilians Neymar (Santos), Danilo (F.C. Porto), Douglas Costa (Shaktar Donetsk) and Lucas (Sao Paulo F.C.), Argentine Erik Lamela (A.S. Roma), and Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez (Bologna F.C.).
After Neymar, the top three was made up of Germany’s Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund) in second, and Italian Mario Balotelli (Manchester City).