What's the story?
Luis Figo's transfer from FC Barcelona to Real Madrid C.F in the year 2000 still strikes a chord or two among the Cules even after almost 20 years have passed by. The Portuguese in his latest interview with Universo Valdano shed light on the circumstances which led to his departure from the Camp Nou.
In case you did not know...
Figo left Barcelona to join their arch-rivals in the year 2000 for a fee of €62 million. The Portuguese left the Catalans after having spent five seasons with them. Florentino Perez triggered the buyout clause and gave birth to the Galactico era with the signing of Figo.
Figo won the Ballon d'Or in 2000, majorly for his heroics with Barcelona. The ex Barcelona man was greeted with chants of being a traitor and several other expletives when he stepped out wearing the white of Real against FC Barcelona in the El Clasico at the Camp Nou.
The heart of the matter
The Portuguese's arrival at the Bernabeu spurred the rivalry between the two sides to a whole new level and now in his latest interview he has opened up on how the move did capitalize as he stated:
"I had five marvelous years at Barcelona, on the personal and sporting side. But during that time, in the summer of 2000, the candidate who was going to win the elections was Gaspart and I did not trust him even in the slightest. Things were getting more serious and we reached a point where my agent had already reached an agreement with one of the candidates (Florentino Perez) of Real Madrid. "
"My representative signed that if I did not go to Madrid I would pay for Bernabeu season tickets for a whole year, but I had not signed anything,".
"It was his responsibility, because I had nothing signed, only in words. At Barcelona they told me, bring the money and you can go. I did not know Florentino,"
"I was on holiday in Sardinia and Florentino won the elections. My agent and my lawyer flew to Sardinia to convince me.
"Afterward, we returned to Lisbon and there I met with Florentino for hours, and so then I called my wife to tell her I had decided to sign for Madrid. "
However, it was not all that easy in the Spanish capital:
"I arrived in a difficult year, with new ideas, a new project after having won the Champions League.
"We were fortunate to win LaLiga," he said.
"I met a sensational group who helped in my integration: Raul, Hierro..."
Figo is currently on the Heineken Trophy Tour for promoting the Champions League to fans around the world.