Luis Figo: Real Madrid were too prestigious to turn down

The retired former Portuguese international has claimed that he joined the Madrid giants from their biggest rivals as the move was too good to turn down
Portuguese icon Luis Figo has revealed that he left Barcelona for bitter rivals Real Madrid as the move was too prestigious to turn down.

The attacker shocked the world of football in 2000 when he left the Catalan club for the capital side in a deal worth around €60 million.

At Madrid, Figo won Liga titles in 2001 and 2003 while also earning a Champions League winners medal in the 2001-02 season.

Despite spending five successful years in Barcelona, the 39-year-old has admitted he was unable to turn down a move to Los Blancos.

"Among other reasons, I went to Real Madrid as a matter of prestige," the former attacking midfielder told Portuguese newspaper, Publico.

Figo, who now works as an ambassador for Inter also revealed the fear he felt in returning to Camp Nou with his new side for the first time.

"No athlete in the world has had to experience playing in a stadium with 100,000 people against them. The worst is that we lost the game," he added.

Figo also explained how the move to the Santiago Bernabeu came about, with a possible deal first being discussed during the 2000 European Championships in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"I was on vacation and was in contact with both parties, including future Barcelona president, Joan Gaspart. Florentino [Perez] finally won the elections and that night they all came by plane to Sardinia, including Jose Veiga [Figo's former agent]," Figo concluded.

Figo s the most-capped player in the Portuguese national side's history, winning 127 caps and scoring 32 goals over a 15 year period.