The former Real Madrid director has hailed the former Barcelona coach's influence at the club, and added that youth players no longer play an important role for Los Blancos.
The 41-year-old Guardiola guided the Blaugrana to a number of trophies during his four-year spell in charge at Camp Nou, and Valdano has nothing but praise for his philosophy.
"Guardiola did a fantastic job. He is the Steve Jobs of football: experimental, brave, a lover of beauty, and innovative. He is an important point of reference in the footballing world, and rightly so," Valdano told Eurosport. "Barca have turned their football into a culture and everything that the youngsters learn at [the club's academy] La Masia is then applied at the Camp Nou."
Valdano added that Real Madrid's youth policy differs from that of Barcelona, stressing that academy players are no longer as important as they used to be at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
"In Real Madrid's history, the youth system has been essential, but times have changed. There seems to be some truth in the idea that for the youth system to play an important part, it's better to be poor than rich."
Valdano left Real Madrid in May 2011, after a conflict with Jose Mourinho.