Despite Colombia’s quarterfinal elimination from the 2014 World Cup, newly 23-year-old wunderkind James Rodriguez remained the tournament’s top goalscorer through Sunday’s final.
With six goals in the tournament and two assists, James sealed his place in World Cup history as the first Colombian to have ever won the Golden Boot award — presented to the player who scores the most goals in the tournament.
PROFILE: James Rodriguez
Although James held the title of “best player” after the Round of 16 according to FIFA’s official Castrol index, he lost it by the next round. At the close of the tournament, James was the third best midfielder, according to FIFA, which measures a player’s overall performance, including passing, assists, defending, and mistakes.
MORE: Colombia’s James Rodriguez number 1 player in 2014 World Cup: FIFA
James’ award puts him in good company, as he joins the likes of World Cup legends such as Garrincha, Eusebio, Gerd Muller, Gary Linekar, Davor Suker, Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose, and Thomas Muller.
James scored at least one goal in every game Colombia played: one in each game of the group stage, two against Uruguay, and a penalty in the quarterfinal loss to Brazil.
Although James was on the short list for the Golden Ball award of the 2014 tournament, given to the most valuable player, the award instead went to Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who led his team to a closely fought final against what was thought to be a far superior German side.
MORE: Colombia’s James Rodriguez nominated for World Cup Golden Ball award
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, another Colombian to have impressed many at the World Cup, had the most assists of any player at the World Cup with four, an achievement he shared with Germany’s Toni Kroos.
James took to Twitter to show off his award stating, “Thank you to God. To all of you [supporters] for the effort you gave. And to my teammates for making this possible.”
Gracias a Dios. A todos ustedes por la fuerza que hicieron. Y a mis compañeros de selección que lo hicieron posible. pic.twitter.com/pkoIjyBjjE
— James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 13, 2014