RIO DE JANEIRO - James Rodriguez on Sunday sealed his place as the revelation of the World Cup amid mounting reports of Real Madrid moving to sign the Colombian striker. "I'd jump at the chance of going to Real Madrid," Rodriguez told Spanish sports daily Marca on the day that his six goals made him the World Cup's Golden Boot winner. "It is the dream of my life and if it happens I want to enjoy it," added Rodriguez, who turned 23 on Saturday.
Colombia went out of the World Cup in the quarter finals against Brazil. But no other candidate -- Germany's Thomas Mueller or Argentina's Lionel Messi -- managed to overtake him with their extra games. Germany's world champion Mueller ended up in second place with five goals. Messi, injured Brazil star Neymar and Dutch striker Robin van Persie, shared third spot on four. "Thanks to all of you for your support and to my teammates who made it possible," said Rodriguez on his Twitter account. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and his teammates also showered the young star with congratulations.
Among Rodriguez's half dozen goals was the magical chest and volley against Uruguay that was among the strikes of the tournament. The Monaco forward, who stepped in to fill the void left by Colombia's injured Radamel Falcao, also scored in the 2-1 quarter-final loss to Brazil. He got a second against Uruguay in the last 16 game, and one in each of Colombia's first round matches against Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan.
Rodriguez left the pitch in tears after the defeat by Brazil. But he has become the hottest property in football. Monaco paid Portugal's Porto 45 million euros (60 million dollars) one year ago. Media reports say they have sought at least twice that amount from potential buyers. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is already negotiating with Monaco counterpart Dimitry Rybolovlev, according to Marca. The Spanish paper said Real had brought the potential price down to 85 million euros. Rodriguez has sprung into the spotlight left by his Monaco and Colombia teammate Falcao who injured cruciate ligaments in January that ruled him out of the World Cup.
Colombia boss Jose Pekerman hailed Rodriguez's contribution in taking the country to the World Cup quarter finals for the first time.
"The work of James in the World Cup has been excellent," said Pekerman. "He is an exceptional player that has huge talent and ambition." Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez likened Rodriguez to Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. "I told him he has many great World Cups in front of him," said Brazil right-back Dani Alves.