James goes to Real Madrid

After days of speculation, Colombia’s World Cup star, James Rodríguez

was presented as a Real Madrid player yesterday,

triggering a media frenzy and and an another outpouring of national pride.

The news channels here interviewed ANYONE who had had anything to do with James,

including, if I am not mistaken, the notary who registered his birth.

Some footage was found of James as a child

(he had exactly the same baby face as he has now)

impressively curving the ball into the penalty box

and being interviewed about his future plans.

I want to play for Tolima, he said,

and after that, wherever God wants.

PS It’s pronounced HA-mes.

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Why the 7-1 mattered

I loved experiencing the World Cup in Colombia.

The whole nation seemed to come together in a way I hadn’t seen before; the celebrations were wild and raucous; the team won many admirers for its attractive style of play; James Rodríguez won the Golden Boot, and as always the subtext was: Look at us – excelling at something normal.

So the defeat to Brazil, in a niggly, foul-strewn, poorly refereed match was a bitter end to the dream.

I was actually at the doctor’s when Germany scored their first goal against Brazil.

Oh we must see this, the doctor said and we rushed out to see the replays on the TV in the waiting room.

I am supporting Germany, the doctor added, as we went back to the consulting room.

And so was everybody else.

Later on, I was working with some colleagues and volunteers preparing materials for our camps, and keeping one eye on the astonishing scoreline.

At 5-0, I said, Now I am starting to feel sorry for Brazil, and my (Colombian) colleague said, I’m not.

When the rout was completed, a great peace seem to steal across the nation.

Justice had been done and everybody, inexplicably, felt better.

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