James Rodriguez reunited with Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park in summer 2020 following prolific spells with the Italian manager at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Forward James initially linked up with Ancelotti in Spain following a breathtaking 2014 World Cup for Colombia.
The Golden Boot winner for his six strikes at the competition in Brazil – including one against Uruguay voted goal of the tournament – James duly flourished with Real after transferring from Monaco for a reported £71m fee.
He directly contributed to 26 goals – scoring 13 times and adding 13 assists – in 29 La Liga matches in 2014/15, a return which secured his position in the division’s team of the year and led to him being crowned La Liga’s best midfielder.
James was a Champions League winner with Real in 2015/16 and 2016/17 and in the second of those campaigns was part of a team which added the La Liga, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles.
Ancelotti took James to Bayern Munich for a two-year-loan in 2017, the player claiming successive Bundesliga titles and directly contributing to 29 goals in 43 league appearances – 32 starts – during his German stay.
In four La Liga campaigns with Real Madrid – he returned to the Bernabeu for 2019/20 – James struck 29 goals, adding 28 assists, from 64 starts and 21 substitute’s appearances.
James initially came to Europe when he swapped Argentinian club Banfield for Porto shortly before turning 19 in 2010.
The player was a domestic champion in each of his three seasons in Portugal, contributing to 53 goals – scoring 25 – in 65 league appearances between 2010-2013.
He played nine matches in Porto’s successful Europa League campaign in 2010/11 and in that season’s Portuguese Cup final netted a hat-trick in a 6-2 victory over Vitoria SC.
The following year James was named the best player in Portugal’s top division after scoring 13 goals and laying on eight in 26 matches (20 starts).
James transferred to Monaco in summer 2013 and in his lone season in the Principality claimed the club’s player-of-the-year honour after scoring nine goals and supplying 13 assists in 34 Ligue 1 matches.
The South American made his professional debut aged 14 for Envigado, the club from Medellin which recruited Rodriguez after he dazzled in Colombia’s Ponyfutbol Cup – a national competition for the country’s best Under-13 sides – for Academia de Tolimense, a team from the player’s home region of Cucuta.
James aided Envigado’s promotion into Colombia’s top division then, at the age of 16, transferred to Banfield in Buenos Aires in summer 2008.
The attacker’s goal in a game against Rosario Central in the opening months of his first campaign made Rodriguez, at 17, the youngest foreign player to score in Argentina’s Primera Division.
He won a domestic title with Banfield in 2009 – the club’s first – and in his second season scored nine goals and assisted seven in 38 matches, notably netting five times in eight appearances in the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club competition.
James has 76 senior international caps after a debut in a World Cup qualifying victory in Bolivia in October 2011.
He scored the first of his 22 national team goals – 12 shy of the record held by Radamel Falcao – when Colombia continued their successful World Cup qualifying campaign with a victory away against Peru in June 2012.
James’s Colombia, who were quarter finalists at that 2014 World Cup and eliminated in the second round by England four years later, with their key man absent injured, reached the Copa America last four in 2016.
They made it to the final eight in 2015 and 2019, when James featured in the team of the tournament.
He had a hand in five goals in five appearances at the 2011 Under-20 World Cup, scoring three and creating two in Colombia’s quarter-final run.