Former World and European Footballer of the
Year Luis Figo signed for Inter Milan on Friday, ending his five-year
spell with Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old Portuguese international had a year left on his contract
with the Spanish club but after completing a medical agreed a two-year
deal with Inter.
Real spent a then world record $56 million to buy Figo from rivals
Barcelona in July 2000 in one of the most controversial transfers in
Spanish football history.
Figo becomes the third player to move from Real to Inter during the
close season following Argentines Santiago Solari and Walter Samuel as
Inter coach Roberto Mancini looks to end the clubs 16 year wait for an
The skillful winger will operate in a midfield featuring Argentine
internationals Juan Sebastian Veron and Esteban Cambiasso and will be
expected to provide the ammunition for Inter's prolific Brazilian
Despite remaining one of the biggest names in the game, Figo will have a
point to prove at Inter following a disappointing end to his time in
The winger fell out with Real coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo after being
consigned to the bench for the latter part of last season and had been
given permission to negotiate with other clubs.
Real are reported not to have demanded a fee for the player who had also
been linked with Liverpool and Valencia.
Figo began his career at his home club of Sporting Lisbon, making his
name as part of the golden generation of Portuguese youngsters who won
the World under-16 and under-20 championships in 1989 and 1991.
He moved to Spain in 1995 to sign for Barcelona, quickly becoming a
favourite among the club's fans for his committed and skilful
performances on the right wing.
He won seven trophies in a five-year spell at the Catalan club,
including two league titles, two King's Cups and the Cup Winners' Cup.
HERO TO VILLIAN
But Figo was transformed from hero to villain in the eyes of the Nou
Camp faithful when he defected to arch-rivals Real in July 2000.
The midfielder, viewed as Real's first Galactico signing, helped his new
club to the league title in his first season and played an important
part in their victories in the 2002 European Cup and 2003 Spanish
Now he faces a new and tough challenge as Inter's fans, tired of years
of domination by rivals AC Milan and Juventus, expect him to play a key
role in their title challenge.
Figo could make his debut for Inter in the Italian Super Cup against
champions Juventus on August 20 -- a week before the start of the Serie
The Portugal international will be presented to the press at Inter's
training ground on Saturday.