James Rodriguez vs Neymar: Who has been the bigger star at World Cup 2014 so far?

Brazil face Colombia next and the two standout players go head-to-head

They are the two players who have shone the brightest at the World Cup in Brazil.

Read more: Has James Rodriguez scored the goal of the tournament so far?
Rodriguez's brilliant double sends Colombia through - match report
Colombia forward hailed after stunning performance
Brazil scrape into the quarter-finals - match report
Brazil fear Neymar could be injured for the next round after rough treatment

With host nation Brazil set to face surprise package Colombia in the quarter-finals, how do the two No 10s, Neymar and James Rodriguez, compare?

Neymar entered this tournament as the competition's poster boy, no player had more expectation on his shoulders. The 22-year-old Barcelona winger was not only expected to lead his team all the way to the final, he was expected to do so playing with a style and flair that the Brazilian people have come to expect from years of watching the very best.

After a £50m move to Spain - though the actual fee is still debated - Neymar was expected to fire alongside Lionel Messi. But Neymar did not galvanise a declining Barca side, in fact it's fair to say that Neymar was a disappointment in his first season in La Liga, as he scored just nine goals in the league as Barca were pipped to the title by the unheralded Atletico Madrid.

Three of just four Champions League goals came in a 6-1 win against Celtic in the group stage and Barcelona crashed out at the quarter-final stage, also to Atletico Madrid.

Coming into the tournament, those who had only seen Neymar perform in red and blue striped were sceptical that he could deliver what Brazil expected.

But the slight No 10 has gone from strength to strength in his team's four matches so far, not only scoring four goals, but consistently being Brazil's most potent attacking force.

He has come in for some rough treatment during the tournament, but for the most part has brushed it off.

Rodriguez came into the tournament with much less pressure resting on him.

After a brilliant qualifying campaign, Colombia were regarded by some as the tournament's dark horses. But just like it was for Rodriguez's Monaco, Colombia's grand plans were shattered when Falcao suffered a serious knee injury in January.

Rodriguez, who turns 23 on July 12, moved from Porto to Monaco for a whopping €45m (£36m) and though he performed well for Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain were the runaway title winners in Ligue 1.

The Colombian forward won eight major trophies in his three years with Porto, including three league titles and the Europa League. He scored 32 goals and had 21 assists in 105 games for the club. At Monaco, Rodriguez ended up as the third top scorer, with 10 goals, adding 12 assists as the club came second.

Hardly an eyebrow-raising record, but James has been the standout player of the tournament so far. James Rodriguez (centre) celebrates after scoring Colombia’s first goal in their 2-1 win over Ivory Coast James has five goals and two assists and is the star of the tournament so far

Despite the absence of Falcao, Colombia's all-out attack has allowed their No 10 to flourish.

Playing in front of a solid base of Carlos Sanchez and Abel Aguilar, James is allowed the freedom of the pitch. Along with his tournament leading five goals, Rodriguez also has two assists.

Against Uruguay came arguably the moment of the tournament so far.

With his back to goal a lofted ball came into James - in one fell swoop he controlled the ball perfectly on his chest, moved on the half turn and unleashed an unstoppable swerving volley from outside the box past Fernando Muslera.

A new star was born and already the Colombia man is being linked to clubs across Europe.

These two will now meet in Fortaleza on Friday night. We can't wait.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine