Until the summer of 2003, when his club failed to bring home a single trophy, Jorge Valdano was the world-renowned Sporting Director of the biggest club in football, Real Madrid. An illustrious career which saw him play for, and manage, Real, as well as play alongside Maradona in the legendary Argentinian World Cup-winning side of 1986, ended prematurely when he fell ill in his late twenties. But, Valdano was to apply his quick-wit and intelligence on the pitch to other elements of the game: management, administration, motivation - and perhaps most notably as a columnist and journalist for publications such as El Pais and the Guardian. He soon acquired a reputation as the most intellectually progressive thinker on the modern game. In Valdano on Football, Miguel Aguilar has collected the best of Valdano's writings on the game, taken largely from the late nineties - a period of rebuilding and eventual renaissance at Real Madrid. Here are pieces on the genius of Maradona, Cruyff, Pele and Garrincha as well as thoughts on the 'galacticos' he brought to the club: Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo.
As an insightful commentator on the modern game and its aesthetics - and how they differ across the global game - Valdano is peerless. His charisma and foresight shaped a dynasty in Spain; Valdano on Football is testimony to the exacting intelligence behind that and should prove an indispensible companion to the library of every serious football supporter.