Inter Milan midfielder
Luis Figo has described his former club Real Madrid as like a circus,
and criticised the way it was run under former president Florentino
The former world and European footballer of the year moved to Italy last
August, six months before Perez resigned with Real heading towards their
third consecutive season without a major trophy.
Real's new president Fernando Martin has promised to crack the whip with
the club's players and the Spanish media is full of speculation about
which players will be the next to follow Figo out of the Bernabeu.
"If the most important thing for your project is to put on a circus,
then you have less chance of winning things," Figo said in an interview
with sports daily Marca on Wednesday.
Figo joined Real in 2000 in one of the most controversial transfers in
Spanish football when newly elected president Perez paid a then
world-record $56 million to buy him out of his contract with arch-rivals
The midfielder, viewed as Real's first Galactico signing, helped them to
the league title in his first season at the club and played an important
part in their victories at the 2002 European Cup and the 2003 Spanish
"Everything started to go wrong at Real after those first three years
when commercial decisions took precedence over sporting ones," Figo said.
"After the third year they signed players for the sake of signing them.
They didn't sign them for sporting reasons, they had other priorities.
"When things are like this sooner or later you pay for it."
After Figo, Real brought Zinedine Zidane and then Ronaldo, pursuing a
policy of signing big names. After the sacking of coach Vicente del
Bosque and the signing of David Beckham in 2003 the trophies dried up.
By the time Perez left he had spent more than 400 million euros ($473
On top of the new signings the club organised longer and more gruelling
world tours to promote the club.
"It is great to go everywhere and be received like kings but this is not
reality," Figo added
"Ask the fans whether they think is more important to see their side
winning every Sunday and collecting titles, or to see their side doing
tours for 15 or 20 days as if they were the Globetrotters.
"I was surprised by the timing of Perez's decision to leave because I
don't think it was the right moment. When things go wrong you should
stand up and be counted."
Real are second in the Primera Liga, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona
whom they play on Saturday, with eight games left this season.