Luis Figo

Luis Figo

Is a retired Portuguese footballer. He played as a winger for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale before retiring on 31 May 2009. He won 127 caps for the Portugal national team, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Figo’s family moved to the Cova da Piedade, a district of Almada when Luis was young and on these streets, Figo started to give vent to his passion for football. In April 2000, it was published a book that celebrated the Portuguese player: “Figo – Born to triumph”. He is married since 2001 to Swedish model Helen Svedin, with whom he has three daughters: Daniela (born in March 1999), Martina (born in April 2002) and Stella (born on 9 December 2004).

Luis Figo started seriously kicking the ball for the first time under Union Futebol Club Os Pastilhas, but when the team had to temporarily interrupt its activity, Figo transferred to Sporting Clube de Portugal. Here, he had Carlos Queiroz as coach, and made his debut in the Primeira Liga at nearly 17 years old. In 1989, he won the European Championship with the national Under-16 teams and two years later, he won the Under 20 World Cup, with a team in which also Manuel Rui Costa and Joao Pinto played, defeating Brazil in the final. With Sporting Lisbon, he won the Portuguese Cup in 1995.

In the 1994-1995 season, Luis Figo was at the center of an interesting case of the transfer market: On 17 October 1994, he signed a three-year contract with the Italian giants Juventus, which would come to effect starting from 1995, but a few weeks later, the two sides unilaterally terminated this agreement with a letter. On 1 February 1995, Figo was speculated to have signed a contract with Parma, who was willing to pay to the Portuguese team 2 billion pounds as UEFA parameter. The contract didn’t reach an agreement and Figo then moved to Barcelona, where he remained for five years. In the period spent under the blaugrana shirt, he won 2 Spanish championships, 2 Copa del Rey, 1 European Cup, 1 European Super Cup and the Supercopa de España.

In 2000, he starred in a sensational move to Real Madrid for 62 million Euros. With the capital team, he won the Primera División twice, as well as the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup, the European Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups. In 2000, Figo was also awarded the Ballon d’Or, beating Zidane in the final. To this individual award, the FIFA World Player of 2001 was eventually added. In the 2002-2003 season, Figo was a victim of one of the most notorious episodes of vengeance from his former fans of Barcelona. During the Barcelona-Real Madrid derby, while Figo was near the corner flag engaged in the action of the game, a pig head was thrown from the stands towards him, that eventually landed not far from the player.

The 2007-2008 season will start in a positive manner for the Portuguese, thanks to his inclusion by coach Roberto Mancini in the starting eleven. During the derby of Italy on 4 November 2007, it was reported that the footballer suffered a compound fracture of the fibula of his right leg, following a clash with Juventus player, Pavel Nedvěd. He later had disagreements with Mancini. One of the most striking episodes was when the Portuguese refused to enter the field during the game against Liverpool in the Champions League, since Mancini asked him to warm up for a long period of time and had decided to send him into the field only in the 70th minute. Then, in the second leg of the Italian Cup against Lazio, Figo accused a new injury and didn’t got to play in that season anymore.

At the end of the season, he planned to quit football, but the turnover on the Inter bench and the arrival of Jose Mourinho, his great admirer, convinced Figo to stay at Inter for another year, in which he collected 22 games and 1 goal against Lecce in the league that decreed the victory of the 4th consecutive Scudetto with Inter. On 16 May 2009, the day when Luis Figo mathematically won the league with Inter, the Portuguese footballer announced his intention to retire from football, unless he would receive offers from clubs outside Europe.

Figo made his debut in the National Team on 12 October 1991 against Luxembourg. During his career in the red-green shirt, that lasted 15 years, until September 2006, Luis Figo has managed to get 127 appearances and 32 goals for the Portuguese National Team. He managed to rank only second in the appearances ranking, behind Cristiano Ronaldo. At Euro 2004, organized at home, Portugal reached the final, where, however, unexpectedly lost 1-0 against Greece. At the 2006 World Cup, he also reached the semi-finals, where the Portuguese team obtained the 4th place, being defeated by Germany in the 3rd place play-off. Luis Figo played during the entire competition as Portugal’s captain.

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