Lopez: James will play for a big club within two or three years

The AS Monaco defender is not surprised by his team-mate’s performances at the World Cup and backs him to win the Ballon d’Or later in his career

AS Monaco defender Borja Lopez believes that his team-mate James Rodriguez will play for a major club "within the next two or three years."

The Colombian playmaker has been arguably the star player of the World Cup so far, with five goals and two assists so far placing him on top of the goalscoring charts.

The 22-year-old has emerged as a hugely influential figure for the Cafeteros and scored a magnificent volleyed goal against Uruguay in Colombia’s last-16 clash.

Subsequently, James has been linked with a summer switch to one of Europe's elite clubs, with the player himself professing he would prefer a move to Real Madrid over Barcelona, and Lopez believes it will not be long before his team-mate is tempted to leave Stade Louis II.

"I'm convinced he'll join a big club within the next two or three years at the most," said Lopez, writing in Marca. "I can't say he's definitely a future Ballon d'Or winner, but if he keeps up this sort of form, why not?"

Lopez also said that he was unsurprised by Rodriguez's performances in Brazil.

"I'm not the least bit surprised by what James is doing at the World Cup because he played at this level throughout the season.

"He got the most assists in the French league and also scored quite a few goals.

"With his dead-ball prowess to boot, he grabs the headlines for what he does going forward, but he also puts in a shift defensively.

"At Monaco he often plays out wide, as a winger, but he's also lined up infield alongside [Joao] Moutinho. He's a player who loves mixing up his position, roaming around rather than always staying in the same area of the pitch."

Colombia have book a quarter-final meeting with Brazil at the Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza on Friday 4th July.