Luis Figo opens up on famous transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid
Former Real Madrid player Luis Figo has talked about his controversial transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000.
Luis Figo famously leftBarcelona
and joined their arch-rivalsReal Madrid
in 2000 for a then-world record fee of €62 million.
Barcelona fans felt betrayed by Figo and went from hero to villain in the eyes of those at Camp Nou. During his return to Camp Nou in 2002 a pig’s head was thrown in his direction as he prepared to take a corner.
Portugal legend in an interview with Guardian has talked about this transfer and the pressure that came with that.
“I had everything in Barcelona, but you think: ‘It’s not like I’m going to a second-rate club.’ If it hadn’t been Madrid, maybe I wouldn’t have gone. It’s a challenge, a decision based on feeling valued, convincing me I was going to be an extremely important piece. It could have been a cagada, a cock-up, but it wasn’t, thank God.
“These days, there’s more protection. It felt like I was doing a press conference every day. That takes its toll. We were starting to tour, a new idea, there was the rivalry, the pressure, the price.
"Not everyone likes God, how is everyone going to like me? My only concern was if something happened physically [at my Camp Nou return], some madman. But go and play football? Nah! In football there’s no reason to be scared.”
Figo told The Guardian.
Figo also talked about the role of his then-agent Jose Veiga in the transfer. Veiga had signed an agreement with Real Madrid which Figo didn’t know about and if the transfer didn’t go through, Viega had to pay €30 million penalty.
“Only I could save them, by going to Madrid,”
Figo told The Guardian.
“But it was the only way to fix it. I was very calm about my own position although at the same time I had a [duty of] care for those working with me. But the decision, I take. I’m the one responsible for it, for my actions. The decision to pull them from that responsibility is mine alone. And a year later I stop working with my agent. Because of some situations that emerged. I said: ‘OK, I’ll take responsibility again. From now on, you have your life, I have mine.”
Figo left Barcelona after five years and played 245 times for Real Madrid. He scored 57 goals and provided 92 assists. He left the club after five years to sign for Inter Milan.
Real Madrid host Barcelona Bernabeu on Sunday in the first Clasico of the season.
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