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The Lessons of the World Cup

This year’s World Cup has proven once again that football is the world’s most popular sport; it has also proven that football is probably the world’s most globalized profession. It is inconceivable that Brazilian, Cameroonian, or Japanese doctors, computer scientists, blue-collar workers, or bank tellers could move from one country to another as easily as Brazilian, Cameroonian, or Japanese football players do.

Indeed, London’s Arsenal football club is composed entirely of foreigners, including a French coach. Even the captain roles are no longer reserved for domestic players: Thierry Henry, a Frenchman, is Arsenal’s captain, Andriy Shevchenko, a Ukrainian, was often the captain of AC Milan and will play next year for the English champions Chelsea. Christiano Zanetti, an Argentine, is captain of Inter Milan. Similarly, dozens of South Americans and Africans play in Russian, Turkish, Polish, and various Southeast European leagues.