Reece James deserves a Ballon d’Or nomination at the rate he’s going.
No, don’t worry, we’re not saying the Chelsea star should win the whole thing, but has there been a better right-back in the world this season than him?
Ok, sure, that’s a whole debate unto itself with Trent Alexander-Arnold also enjoying a fabulous campaign, but there can no longer be any denying James’ quality as a full-back at the very top of his game.
James and Chelsea shine despite Real defeat
And that couldn’t possibly have been any clearer than when the 22-year-old dropped a stunning performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals this week.
All in all, the Blues could hold their head up high on a chaotic night at the Bernabeu where Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner almost teed up a comeback for the ages.
And although goals from Rodrygo and Karim Benzema ensured that ultimately wasn’t the case, there was hardly a Chelsea player on the pitch that couldn’t feel proud about their display.
However, it was James and the back five that were particularly excellent on a night where the Champions League holders bowed out of the competition in a blaze of glory.
James more than held his own in the right centre-back slot, standing tall against the genius of Vinicius Junior and Benzema despite playing alongside an out-of-position Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Real Madrid 2-3 Chelsea Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
James’ highlights vs Real Madrid
Aside from proving himself as an excellent ball-playing defender for the umpteenth time, James also reiterated his status as the most defensively competent of England’s right-back riches.
The simple fact of the matter is that his Herculean performance in the Spanish capital was truly remarkable for a player who was plying his trade in the Championship with Wigan Athletic just three seasons ago.
And his individual highlights prove exactly that with Twitter user @CheIseaComps stitching together two minutes and 20 seconds that serve to underline just how peerless James truly was.
From heroic tackles to deft flashes of footballing IQ, James really was at the top of his game and you’d be mad not to check out his performance in all its glory, so enjoy his highlights down below:
Reece James vs Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/nz10AL2uKI— َ (@CheIseaComps) April 13, 2022
No wonder Benzema wanted to get his shirt at the end of the game.
James on course for great things
Regardless of whether or not you think Alexander-Arnold is the superior player, we can surely all agree that James has firmly established himself as one of the best full-backs in the men’s game.
Truth be told, the England international was already well on his way during his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, but the 2021/22 campaign has launched him into the stratosphere.
So, sure, James might not have been on the winning side of what was ultimately a heartbreaking night for Chelsea, but he can feel incredibly proud of what proved to be a performance for the ages.
The world isn’t ready for a prime James.