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SOCCER INSIDER | THE GLOBAL GAME

Clemente Has Doubts and Short Memory

November 04, 1998|GRAHAME L. JONES | Times Staff Writer

How much player does $35 million buy?

Not that much, according to Javier Clemente, the former Spanish national coach now coaching Real Betis of Seville in the Spanish League.

Clemente believes the world's most expensive player is perhaps overrated. The club paid $35 million for Brazilian midfielder Denilson, 20, but the figure means nothing to always-grumbling Clemente.

"Denilson isn't the finished article yet," he said. "He's an under-21 player, and in Spain the under-21s aren't usually in the first team with their clubs. People have been asking him to play as if he were 27. He's going to have to overcome a lot of marking, a lot of pressure. If he does it, then he'll be a great player. If not, then he'll get nowhere.

"Brazilian football isn't anything like the Spanish game. A big name there can still be a big disaster here, and he's got a lot still to learn."

Perhaps Clemente has forgotten that his Spain team was ousted from the France '98 World Cup in the first round, and that Denilson and Brazil won the silver medal.

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A goal by Oli Alvarez achieved three things: It gave Real Betis a 1-0 victory over Salamanca. It gave Clemente a win in his first game in charge. It was the club's 1,500th goal in first-division play since its debut in the top division in the 1932-33 season.

JAPAN: Masashi Nakayama, striker for Jubilo Iwata, broke the J-League record for goals in a season when he scored his 33rd in a 1-0 victory over the Shimizu S-Pulse. The old record of 32 had been set by Masahiro Fukuda of the Urawa Reds in 1995.

Nakayama also scored the only goal, on a penalty kick, as Japan defeated African champion Egypt, 1-0, at Nagai Stadium in Osaka, one of the venues for the 2002 World Cup. It was Nakayama's 14th goal in 31 games for his country and made it a winning debut for new Coach Philippe Troussier.

BOLIVIA: A strike by players of defending champion Bolivar forced the club to field its youth team, which lost a key game that knocked Bolivar out of the championship race. The striking players had demanded their year-end bonuses in advance of the game.

ENGLAND: A stadium security guard at Coventry City was killed when he was pinned against a fence by a bus carrying the Arsenal team into the stadium for a Premier League game. The man's identity was not immediately announced.

Glenn Hoddle, England's national team coach, agreed to a new contract that could earn him $160,000 on top of his current salary of $400,000 depending on the team's progress toward qualification for the European Championship in 2000.

An English court has awarded Bradford City forward Gordon Watson almost $84,000 in compensatory damages after Watson sued an opposing player, Huddersfield's Kevin Gray, for making a reckless tackle that broke his leg in two places last season.

ITALY: Brazilian forward Ronaldo said he wants to become a financial investor in his club team, Inter Milan, which lost $27.1 million last year, the largest loss by aSerie A club. Owner Massimo Moratti agreed to sell some of his own shares to Ronaldo. That the team was pelted with eggs by its own fans before a recent home game apparently has not deterred Ronaldo. Meanwhile, league champion Juventus announced profits of $9.8 million and again is riding high atop the league.

GERMANY: Uli Hoeness, the manager of Bayern Munich, wants to see national team players paid by the country's federation, the DFB, while they are with the team. "The DFB makes millions out of international games," Hoeness told a German newspaper. "Since the players are on duty for their country for six to eight weeks [each year], one has to wonder why their salary should not be paid by the DFB for that period."

ARGENTINA: River Plate, which had won three of the last four Argentine championships and was South American champion as recently as 1996, is going through a difficult time since selling star striker Marcelo Salas of Chile to Lazio in Italy. The team is languishing in 18th place in the league and its prospects of another title appear dim.

BELGIUM: Former Soviet Union star David Kipiani of Georgia has agreed to coach the Belgian first-division team Mechelen. Meanwhile, former Belgian national team goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff was named Ostend's new coach.

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