Brazil star David Luiz knows greatness when he sees it. So do the Brazilian soccer fans, who may be the most knowledgeable in the world. But Luiz wasn’t leaving anything to chance yesterday after Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinal defeat of Colombia–he grabbed the great Colombian scorer James Rodriguez and made sure that Brazil fans knew they’d seen something special in this World Cup. Rodriguez scored six goals in Brazil, a record.
Rodriguez didn’t enter the World Cup as a superstar–bigger names like Brazil’s Neymar and Argentina’s Lionel Messi–dominated the coverage. But that’s why they play the games. And no one offered more thrills in the last couple of weeks than the newly anointed James Rodriguez, a 22-year-old with the soccer world suddenly at his enormously talented feet. He was in tears at the end, his brilliant dream of a tournament ended. But David Luiz grabbed him and hugged him. He pointed at the young goal machine and asked the Brazil fans to acknowledge what they had had the pleasure of seeing. You hear a lot about the “beautiful game.” In this moment, it surely was.