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In this edition of ‘Legends’, Goal.com looks at the life of Portuguese legend Luis Figo...

Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro

Playing Position: Midfielder


Date of Birth: 4 November 1972


Birthplace: Almada, Portugal

Its rare to see a man who has played on both the turfs - the Nou Camp and the Santiago Bernabeu. Luis Figo belonged to the select few who defied the unspoken rule and played for both the teams. Figo was a Portuguese legend who played for Sporting Lisbon, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Goal.com looks at how his illustrious career panned out..


Early Life

Luis Filipe Madeira Figo, more popularly known as Luis Figo, was born in a small town of Almada in Portugal. The only son of Antonio Figo and Maria Joana, Figo grew up playing street football before becoming a professional. Born in working class district, Figo had only one passion and that was football. Figo joined Sporting Lisbon at an age of 11.

Life in the capital

Figo went on to attract quite a lot of attention from the footballing fraternity during his stay at Lisbon. This caused him to earn his first international cap for Portugal in 1991. Before his international cap he was an integral part of the Under-16 European Championships and the Under-21 World Championships for Portugal. This led to an interest from the two Italian sides Juventus and Parma.

Lucky Break for Figo


Figo controversially signed for both the Italian clubs, Juventus and Parma. This led to an Italian ban for the winger which meant he could not play in Italy for years to come. Johan Cryuff took advantage of this situation and took Figo under his wings in a £2.25m move to Barcelona, which was indeed a shrewd purchase by the Dutch master as he uncovered a jewel.

The ‘Lion King’

Figo showed his true class during 5 years for the Blaugrana. Under Cryuff, Figo went on to become one of the best players in the world then.


At Barcelona he won the La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey twice, UEFA Super Cup once, Supercopa de Espana once and UEFA Cup winners’ Cup once. During his stay at the Nou Camp, he was given the nickname ‘Lion King’. He also captained the Barcelona side and appeared 172 times for them scoring 30 goals.

Off to the Spanish capital

Luis Figo made a controversial and then record breaking £37 million move to Real Madrid on July 24th, 2000. Disheartening the Barcelona fans, Figo made his own niche in the ‘Galacticos’ midfield. His assists coupled with the 36 goals made him a young footballer’s idol.


In the white T-shirt he won 2 La Liga titles, 2 Copa del Rey, 1 Supercopa de Espana, 1 Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup. The club president, Florentino Perez, hailed Figo as one of the best wingers of all time. Soon Figo went on to become a Real Madrid legend. However his visit to Nou Camp as part of the Madrid squad wasn't taken too kindly and a pig head was thrown towards him while taking a corner-kick.

An Italian job complete

Figo finally got to play on the Italian soil as he was transferred for free to Inter Milan in 2005 after his contract with Madrid expired. He played at the San Siro for 4 years and retired after the 2009 season. He was a part of the great Inter side which went on to win the Scudetto 4 times in a row.


Moreover, he also won the Coppa Italia once and the Supercopa Italiana thrice. He played in 105 matches for Inter and scored 9 goals. Figo made an emotional announcement as he retired by saying, ‘I am leaving football, not Inter’.

International Career

Luis Figo was a part of the ‘Golden generation’ for the Portuguese. He led the Portuguese side to the Euro 2004 finals and also to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals. He won a lot of trophies for the clubs he played for but unfortunately he could not translate the same for his country.


Figo announced his retirement from international football at the end of Euro 2004 but reversed his decision in 2006. Figo managed to win 127 caps for his country in which he scored 32 goals. He was also the captain of Portugal for a considerable time.

Personal Life

Figo married a Swedish model Helen Svedin, and has three daughters - Daniela, Martina and Stella. Figo was also a seat holder in the A1 Team Portugal in the A1 Grand Prix in the 2005-2006 season. As of today, he works closely with Inter as an ambassador for the club.

Trophy Room



Club


Sporting CP    
  • Taça de Portugal (1): 1995

Barcelona

  • La Liga (2): 1997-98, 1998-99
  • Copa del Rey (2): 1997, 1998
  • Supercopa de España (1): 1996
  • UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1997
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 1997
Real Madrid
  • La Liga (2): 2000-01, 2002-03    Supercopa de España (2): 2001, 2003
  • UEFA Champions League (1): 2002
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 2002
  • Intercontinental Cup (1): 2002

Inter Milan

  • Serie A (4): 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09
  • Coppa Italia (1): 2006
  • Supercoppa Italiana (3): 2005, 2006, 2008
National team
  
  • UEFA European Football Championship: 2004 Runner-Up    FIFA U-20 World Cup (1): 1991
  • UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship (1): 1989
  • UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: 1994 Runner-Up

Individual


  •  Ballon d'Or (1): 2000
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (1): 2001
  • World Soccer Player of the Year (1): 2000
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (1): 2006
  • UEFA Euro All-Star Team (2): 2000, 2004
  • UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2003
  • La Liga Foreign Player of the Year (3): 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Portuguese Footballer of the Year (6): 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • Portuguese Golden Ball (1): 1994
  • FIFA 100
Orders
  • Medal of Merit, Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (House of Braganza)

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