And the Uruguay coach was full of praise for the 22-year-old in his post-match press conference.
“I know him - not personally, but I’ve seen him play for a while. He arrived in Argentina at 17 and already showed his talent,” explained Tabarez.
“Talents are those who do things which have nothing to do with their life experience - [Diego] Maradona, [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez. They do things because they have certain gifts that make him special.
“It’s not up to me, but from what I’ve seen he’s the best player in the World Cup. I don’t think I’m exaggerating.”
Tabarez added that his team tried their best to handle him but James was simply too good for them.
“We tried to limit him but he kept coming and he made his presence felt.
“Hopefully he will continue to move on because he’s very young and football needs players with these characteristics.”
James has thanked Tabarez for his praise and is already looking forward to facing Brazil in the last eight.
“It is a matter of great pride that someone like him has said that. I want to help and do my share so Colombia get far,” James said.
“Brazil are a hard team with great players and their history. We have to come out to win as we’ve always done. I’m at a good level and we’re also scoring goals, and I’m happy about that.
“As a young man I always wanted to be [at the World Cup], it was a great dream and I hope we can make it far. We want to do even more because this is a team that wants to win a lot.”
Brazil and Colombia will meet in Fortaleza on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.