5 things Real Madrid want you to forget about Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been among the wealthiest, most prestigious football clubs in the world for a long time now, and have the unique distinction of being the most decorated club in both continental, as well as Spanish professional football.
The club, founded in 1902, has a chequered history – both on and off the field. While it has found unmatched success on the world stage and established itself as the biggest, most visible brand in world football, Real Madrid has also been mired in many controversial incidents during its 114-year history.
The following are 5 of the most forgettable episodes from the Real Madrid history books:
#1 The Luis Figo affair
Florentino Perez is one of the most celebrated presidents in Real Madrid history, and for a good reason. He brought the best players on the planet to Madrid as part of the Galacticos program, which increased Real’s outreach to untapped markets in Asia, Africa and other areas with less of a footballing culture.
He has invited a lot of flak from various sections of football fans over the years, but one particular incident from his tenure has gone down in football history as possibly the most controversial transfer move of all time: Luis Figo’s switch to Real Madrid in the year 2001.
Perez brokered a pre-contract agreement with the Portuguese winger, who was one of the top players in world football at the time. This deal would set him back by €26 million if Perez won the elections and Figo then refused to join Real.
The financial pressure of such a deal came through on Figo. The Portugal star stated, "I want to reassure fans that Luis Figo, with all the certainty in the world, will be at the Camp Nou on July 24 to start the season," only to be unveiled on the same date as Real Madrid’s no. 10 at the Santiago Bernabeu, for a world record fee of €62 million.
The acrimonious nature of his transfer left a bad taste on every stakeholder, and Figo has faced a lot of flak for that decision from all quarters. The most unpalatable, yet memorable incident of his time at Real was when a pig’s head was thrown onto the field by a Barcelona supporter.