Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo, (born November 4, 1972 in Almada,
Portugal) is a professional Portuguese footballer. In his homeland Figo is
considered by some second only to Eusebio as Portugal’s greatest player ever. He
plays as a midfielder and winger, currently for Internazionale.
Known as the original Golden Boy (a name which now belongs to Cristiano
Ronaldo, a teammate from the Portugal national football team), Figo gained fame
as the main football player behind Portugal's prominent Golden Generation that
consisted of fellow legends like Rui Costa, and was the reason why the term came
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Figo was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year, the 2001 FIFA World Player
of the Year, and was named amongst the FIFA 100. Known for his exceptional
trickery and dribbling skills on either wing (though he predominantly plays on
the right), Figo is one of the few footballers to have played for both the
Spanish rival clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Figo started his career at Sporting Clube de Portugal, a club which has
developed many other great Portuguese players. He won his first senior
international cap in 1991. Prior to that, he won the Under-20 World
Championships and Under-16 European Championships with Portugal junior sides,
alongside compatriot Rui Costa and a significant part of his nation's so-called
In 1995, Figo looked poised to join one of the big clubs of Europe, but a
dispute between Italian clubs Juventus F.C. and Parma, with Figo having signed
contracts with both clubs, resulted in an Italian 2-year transfer ban on Figo,
effectively stopping any moves to Italy. However, the situation was eventually
resolved for Figo, with a move to Spanish club FC Barcelona, under coach Johan
Cruijff, and within four years he became a fan-favourite, captain and symbol of
the Spanish side.
It was with FC Barcelona from 1995 that the career of the 'Lion King' really
took off: Figo won a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1996/97, successive Primera
División titles and went on to appear 172 times for the Blaugrana, scoring 30
goals. Figo was able to garner many plaudits while at the Nou Camp, such as Sir
Alex Ferguson, who it has been later claimed almost brought him to Manchester
United before Euro 2000 in a swap deal with David Beckham.
||Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo
|Date of birth
||November 4, 1972 (1972-11-04)
|Place of birth
||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 20:32, 11 December 2007 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 21:27, 20 September 2007 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)
In 2000 came his controversial, world-record transfer to rivals Real Madrid,
which only intensified the great animosity between the two clubs. The move
caused outrage among Barcelona fans and many others baulked at the €65m fee. Yet
Figo justified the investment by helping Madrid to the Primera División title
and UEFA Champions League semi-finals as well as winning the FIFA World
Footballer of the Year award. In 2001–02, he went one better, playing through
injury against Bayer Leverkusen as Madrid prevailed 2-1. Figo also occupied a
major role as Madrid won the 2003 Spanish title, scoring ten times. The success
made up for the disappointment of a Champions League semi-final loss to Juventus,
but the next season, despite Figo's nine league goals, Madrid finished fourth
and lost in the Champions League last eight and Copa del Rey final. He went from
being one of the most cherished players in Catalonia to being the most hated.
There was a short-lived website, AntiFigo.com, devoted to insulting "Judas
He missed his highly anticipated first return to the Nou Camp due to injury;
in 2002, Barcelona's ground was almost closed after objects (including a pig's
head, whiskey bottles, etc.) were thrown at Figo, while chants calling him
Pesetero (which can be roughly translated to money whore) echoed
around the stadium; and finally, during the final match of Euro 2004 between
Greece and Portugal, a Barça fan known as Jimmy Jump ran across the field and
threw an FC Barcelona flag at Figo in an apparent act of defiance.
Despite the detractors and some critics' claims that he was a vastly
'overrated' player, Figo played out some of the best attacking football ever
seen in both an individual and in his Real Madrid team. It was not hard to see
why though, given that Figo was one of the linchpins at the heart of an ever
increasing star studded squad that included Zinedine Zidane, Steve McManaman,
Fernando Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, and Raúl González, and dubbed the
'Greatest Club in the World' first, and then, officially crowned as the 'Club of
the Century' by FIFA in the year he joined. Alongside his equally illustrious
team mates, Real Madrid with Figo at the core swept the titles for the next
three years under coach Vicente Del Bosque.
He struck four goals in the Champions League group stage in 2004/2005 but it
was another mixed campaign for Madrid, coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo had a fall-out
with Figo after he relegated the Portugal International to the bench for the
second half of the 2004–2005 Primera Liga season and David Beckham was moved to
the right. It was widely believed that Figo would leave Los Merengues for
first-team football elsewhere. During the off-season, he was linked with a move
to the English Premiership with Liverpool or to Serie A's Inter Milan. Given
permission to leave by Madrid, on August 5, 2005, Figo moved to Inter on a free
transfer and a two-year deal worth £6 million.
In his first season at Inter, Figo notched up 34 appearances as the club
finished third in the league. However, Inter were later awarded the league title
(scudetto) in the controversial match-fixing scandal (popularly known as 'Calciopoli')
that saw Juventus stripped of the league title and relegated to the second
division, while second-placed A.C. Milan were docked 30 points from the final
standings. The following season, 2006–2007, Figo appeared 32 times scoring twice
as Inter won the league title which included a european record of 17 consecutive
match wins in a row.
In December 2006, Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad reported Figo would transfer
to the club in January 2007. Figo
traveled to Saudi Arabia to sign a contract, but after talks with Inter Milan
owner and President Massimo Moratti, Figo remained in the club and renewed his
contract until the end of the 2007–08 season.
Thus, a statement made on January 3, 2007, on the official Inter website
declaring: "There are no negotiations for the transfer of Luís Figo to another
club. The recent news of a possible transfer of the Portuguese midfielder is,
therefore, completely groundless." (Inter.it) Despite this statement, on January
5, 2007, it was announced on the website of La Gazzetta dello Sport, that Figo
had signed a contract in Saudi Arabia, starting on July 1st, 2007.
On May 29, 2007, in a spectacular about-face, Luís Figo broke off his deal
with the Al Ittihad club, saying that they hadn't fullfiled their obligations..
On June 10, 2007, Figo renewed his contract until June 30, 2008 and looked
towards taking a directorial role at Inter once this contract ran out.
But after interests from other parties Figo's attention has been diverted
elsewhere. It has been reported that Figo could migrate to North America and
play in the MLS next year when his contract expires with Inter, but the
strongerst rumour is that Figo is about to join up with England's Fulham
(Premiership), now managed by former Inter boss Roy Hodgson, or second-division
side Queens Park Rangers after boss Luigi DeCanio was made aware of his
availability. Rumors surfaced after Figo purchased a home in west London.
The leader of Portugal's 'golden generation', Figo won a FIFA World Youth
Championship in 1991, the same year he made his senior debut against Luxembourg,
at 16 October 1991, in a friendly match, that ended 1-1, when he was only 18
years old. He has performed at the highest level ever since, gracing Euro 96,
Euro 2000, and the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup. He announced his retirement
from international football following the UEFA EURO 2004 final defeat by Greece,
having won 117 caps and scored 31 goals. However, in June 2005 he reversed his
decision and returned for 2006 World Cup qualifying wins against Slovakia and
Estonia. He again vowed to retire from international football after the 2006
World Cup where he lead the team to the semi-finals where Portugal lost 0-1 to
France. He made his last appearance playing around 10 minutes at the end of the
third place play-off game where he set up Portugal's only goal for Nuno Gomes in
a 3-1 defeat against Germany.
On August 18, 2004, Figo announced that he would "take a break" from
international football, although many sources suggested this was due to his
inability to play good football. In April 2005, he announced to be ready to
return, as he was sidelined in Real Madrid, and the next month Luiz Felipe
Scolari announced he would talk to him about his return. Figo agreed to return
on May 13 and resumed his international career in the match between Portugal and
Slovakia on June 4. This received mixed feelings from Portuguese fans: some saw
his return as fixing something that should not have happened, others were
fearful of the "concessions" Scolari made to bring him back.
Figo captained the squad during the 2006 World Cup, leading the team to the
semi-finals, where they were beaten 1-0 by France.This was the furthest Portugal
had reached in the tournament since 1966. A penalty, scored by French captain
Zinedine Zidane stood as the winning goal. At the end of the match, Zidane and
Figo, formerly teammates on Real Madrid during the club's glory years, swapped
shirts and hugged. The third place playoff caused some controversy as Figo did
not start; Pauleta captained the team in his place. However, Portugal fell
behind 0-2 to hosts Germany and Figo replaced Pauleta in the 77th minute,
regaining his captaincy during the substitution. Although Germany scored another
goal shortly after Figo's entrance, he ended his final cap for his country on a
high note as he set up Nuno Gomes's goal in the 88th minute to help Portugal
claw back a marker.
Luís Figo is married to Swedish model Helen Svedin. The two met at a flamenco
show and are now married with three daughters, Daniela (born in March 1999),
Martina (born in April 2002), and Stella (born December 9, 2004).
Like several of his Real Madrid colleagues at the time like Steve McManaman
and Roberto Carlos, Luís is a devout Catholic, and met the Pope with those team
mates in 2002.
Along with his countryman, football manager Carlos Queiróz, Figo was briefly
joint seat holder for A1 Team Portugal, in A1 Grand Prix, during the 2005-06
- With Sporting C.P.
- Cup of Portugal - 1994/95
- With FC Barcelona
- La Liga - 1997/98, 1998/99
- Copa del Rey - 1996/97, 1997/98
- Supercopa de España - 1996
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup - 1996/97
- European Super Cup - 1997
- With Real Madrid
- La Liga - 2000/01, 2002/03
- Supercopa de España - 2001, 2003
- UEFA Champions League - 2001/02
- Intercontinental Cup - 2002
- European Super Cup - 2002
- With Inter Milan
- Serie A 2005/06, 2006/07
- Coppa Italia - 2005/06
- Italian Super Cup - 2005, 2006
- With Portugal
- UEFA Euro 2004 runner-up
- FIFA U-20 World Cup - 1991
- Ballon d'Or - 2000
- 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year
- Portuguese Footballer of the Year: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,
Footballer of the Year
World Player of the Year
|Portugal squad - 2002
FIFA World Cup
|Portugal squad - 2006
FIFA World Cup Fourth Place
Luis Figo is a LEGEND...no one will ever replace him, the way
he plays his skills are amazing. PEACE FIGO
Luis Figo is one me the football legend. Football will miss
you after your retirement.
luis figo is a great soccer player and he sure has a lot of
Luis Figo... O nome diz tudo... Hasta siempre comandante!
figo o melhor jogador de todos os tempos. de longe o melhor
jogador portugues,k fintas vai deichar muitas saudades.figo simbolo de portugal
I cry for your retirement Figo, you are the best idol there
can ever be. I love your football