James Rodriguez came into the World Cup as a young player to watch out for and left the stage a star, nursing a broken heart and, temporarily, a fearless companion on his arm.
A grasshopper made the 22-year-old Colombian’s right arm his resting place for a few seconds after he scored a penalty in the 80th minute against Brazil in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat on Friday.
This was his sixth goal. The grasshopper stayed put on the Monaco player’s right arm even as he cut short celebrations because his team desperately needed a second goal to equalise at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.
Rodriguez, nicknamed ‘El Nuevo Pibe’ (The New Kid), in a nod to the original ‘El Pibe’ Carlos Valderrama, quickly picked up the ball from the back of the net and made his way to the centre for the restart. All this while, the green bug hitched the ride.
The gifted attacking midfielder, who captured the imagination of the world with his goals, broke down after Brazil eliminated his team. The grasshopper, who shared his joy from close quarters after the penalty, was not near him at this point.