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Football melancholy

The man with the biggest cheque book in soccer is saddened by today's homogeneous global football. But he loves his own brand

By Gideon Rachman   July 2002

Jorge Valdano is the George Soros of world football-a man who simultaneously epitomises and decries the forces of globalisation. In his heyday as a player, Valdano was Diego Maradona’s strike partner in the Argentine team that carried off the 1986 World Cup-he scored a goal in the final. Now, as the sporting director of Real Madrid, Valdano has the largest cheque book in soccer. In successive summers, Real has broken the world transfer record: first snatching Luis Figo from Barcelona for $56m; then snapping up Zinedine Zidane for $65m. When I spoke to him before the World Cup, Valdano was…

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