Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano spoke on Marca Radio today to give his thoughts on several wide-ranging topics, including the current debate that stemmed from Xavi’s comments about Champions League winners, Benzema’s Balon D’or, Erling Haaland to Real Madrid, and more.
On Gonzalo Higuain’s retirement
“I was very surprised to see him so excited at his farewell. In recent years I think he has lived football with some anguish. Expectations are getting bigger and bigger and that is uncomfortable. The goal that he missed in the World Cup final in Brazil bothered him a lot, but I think he has had a magnificent career. In Madrid we did nothing but buy galacticos and he survived and prevailed. He is a striker of the highest level and left unforgettable memories”
On Karim Benzema
“There is no other name for the Ballon d’Or after an extraordinary season. He played football of exceptional quality and he has added goals and leadership. He who is intelligent evolves in all aspects and he is the best example”.
Is La Liga really ‘more fair’ than the Champions League?
“That has always been said, but what happens is that every time someone linked to Barcelona says that, we deduce that he does it to reduce Real Madrid’s wins and I don’t think that’s the intention. The knockout competitions do have a point of chance that must be taken into account. To win a World Cup you have to have a very complete football collectively, great individuals and that the stars are aligned. For me it is more meritorious to win the Champions for the quality of the rivals. Madrid last year beat monsters like PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City and that has a lot of merit. I think that public opinion is what has been making the Champions League bigger to the detriment of the League. There are a lot of teams for which the league is not enough, like the case of Pochettino”.
On Erling Haaland
“He is my favorite at the moment, there is no game in which he fails... He is a cyclone within a game and I I would have really liked to see him in the Real Madrid shirt”.