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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test