James Rodriguez has proved a valuable asset to Bayern Munich during his two-year loan spell from Real Madrid, hitting 10 goals and providing 11 assists in his 34 Bundesliga appearances to date.
The 2014 Golden Boot winner is one of world football’s most sought-after attacking midfielders. With a wand of a left foot, James has shown he’s capable of scoring and setting up teammates from almost anywhere on the pitch: from long diagonal balls to deft little chips in the penalty area.
bundesliga.com looks at where the Colombian is at his most prolific on the pitch…
Where does he shoot from?
Despite James’ marauding nature that often sees him pop up on either flank or anywhere central, the left-footer has a clear preference for shots within the width of the goal.
Only two efforts have come from out wide, while his remaining 47 have been taken when the foraging forward has created space for himself directly in the goalkeeper’s eye line.
The Colombian doesn’t seem to mind where he shoots from in terms of distance – 25 of his attempts on goal have come within the penalty area, while 24 have been from beyond 18 yards.
Where does he score from?
James has scored 10 times in the German top flight since his arrival at Bayern in summer 2017. Seven of them came in his first campaign, while three have followed in an injury-hit second season.
Although he has shown little preference for whether he tries from inside or outside the box, his success rate from inside 18 yards is substantially greater. Nine of those goals have come inside the box, meaning a success rate of 36 per cent.
Step outside the area and the Colombian is rather less prolific with just 0.04 per cent of attempts finding the back of the net. That one strike, however, was a memorable one as he curled a free-kick into the top corner against Bayer Leverkusen for a goal that was named Bundesliga Goal of the Month for January 2018.
Where do his goals go in?
James has shown he’s comfortable beating the goalkeeper on his left, right and straight down the centre. While that Leverkusen free-kick beat Bernd Leno high to his right, the 27-year-old does appear to have a clear preference for putting the ball past the ‘keeper low to his left.
Five of his Bundesliga goals have come down there, including his first two against Schalke and RB Leipzig in 2017/18. It’s a warning sign that defenders have seemingly ignored, allowing the forward to wrap his foot around the ball and pick out his favourite corner.
The fact that just two goals other than that free-kick have been scored to the goalkeeper’s right and the majority of shots have come from right of centre demonstrates that James has a clear preference for the near post and doesn’t often look to open his foot for a shot to the far corner.
Watch: All of James’ goals and assists from 2017/18
Where are his assists converted?
Very similar to his goals, the 68-time Colombia international provides a major threat with his balls into the penalty area. Only once has he teed up a teammate to score from further than 18 yards, which was David Alaba's long-range drive against Borussia Dortmund.
What it does highlight, however, is that James is a player who prefers to lurk on the edge of the box and enjoys the challenge of splitting open the defence with deft flicks or chips into feet or in behind.
His remaining 10 assists have all been converted from between 12 and 18 yards, that is to say the space between the penalty spot and the edge of the penalty area.
And again like his goals, James shows a preference for operating within a narrow space between the goal posts. Eight of those 11 assists have come within that window, proving how difficult it still is to pin down the Colombian, who once provided the most assists at the 2011 FIFA U20 World Cup and in France’s Ligue 1 in 2013/14.