Figo (full name Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro) was born on November 4, 1972 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Biography and Career :
Figo is a Portuguese international footballer, who plays as a midfielder and winger, currently for Inter Milan. Figo, a devout Catholic, was the 2000 European Footballer of the Year and 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year, known for his exceptional trickery and dribbling skills at either wing (though he predominantly plays on the right).
Figo was one of the footballers to have played for the Spanish rival clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Figo started his career at Sporting Lisbon,a club which developed many other great Portuguese players. Figo won his first senior international cap in 1991; prior to that, Figo won the Under-20 World Championships and U
nder-16 European Championships with Portugal junior sides, a significant part of the nation's so called 'Golden Generation' in football, alongside compatriot, Rui Costa. In 1995, Figo looked poised to join one of the big clubs of Europe, but a dispute between Italian clubs Juventus and Parma, 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 Cruyff, and within four years he became a fan-favourite, captain and symbol of the Catalan side.
Figo is already a great winger at the beginning of his career and eventually became one of the best players in the world. His dazzling dribbling and the amazing amount of assists (Figo states that he enjoys assisting as much as scoring) assured him success and fame all over the world. Figo is recognized for his versatility throughout the pitch.
In 2000 his transfer to Barcelona's arch-rival, Real Madrid, for a record-breaking 56 million dollars only intensified the great animosity between the two clubs. The move was very hurtful to Barcelona supporters especially after he spent the summer swearing he wouldn't transfer to Madrid.
Figo went from being one of the most cherished players in Catalonia to being the most hated one. There was a short-lived website (antifigo.com) devoted to insult "judas Figo", which shows how much the fans were hurt. Figo missed his highly anticipated first return to the Nou Camp due to injury; in 2002, Barcelona's ground was almost closed after objects were thrown at Figo, while massive chants calling him Pesetero (which can be roughly translated to mercenary) echoed in the stadium; and finally, during the final match of Euro 2004 between Greece and Portugal, a Barcelona fan known as Jimmy Jump ran across the field and threw a FC Barcelona flag at Figo in an apparent act of defiance.
Despite the niggling detractors and all the critics' cries 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, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, and Raul Gonzalez, 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. One of his most memorable achievements was the red card he received for kicking James Watson from Osasuna in the testicles.
Luis Figo: Portugal Captain :
Figo announced that he would "take a break" from international football on August 18, 2004. In April 2005 Figo 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 13 May and resumed his international career in the match between Portugal and Slovakia on June 4. This received mixed feelings from Portuguese fans: some see his return as fixing something that should not have happened, others are fearful of the "concessions" Scolari made to bring him back.
- He is nowadays one of the main Portuguese symbols and ambassadors.
- Many Portuguese travelling outside southern Europe get "Oh! Figo! Figo!" as a reply, when saying they are Portuguese.
- He is married to Swedish model Helen Svedin. They have three daughters named Daniela, Martina and Stella.