Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo is a retired Portuguese footballer who played for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale. He was not only one of the greatest footballers of his country but also one of the greatest midfielders that football has ever seen. Figo started off as a youth prodigy for Sporting CP in Portugal and also helped Portugal win championships at the age group level before making his senior debut. Before long he was being courted by the biggest clubs in Europe. He played for some of the biggest clubs in the world like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan and helped them win major trophies. He was one of the earliest members of the team of ‘Galacticos’ at Real Madrid. Luis Figo was also the leading member of the Portuguese national team and was the part of the ‘Golden Generation’ of the national team as they became a team that was feared by everyone. Figo led the team to its best ever finish in the World Cup by finishing third in the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and his place in history as a Portuguese football icon is secured.
Childhood & Early Life
Luis Felipe Madeira CaeiroFigo was born on 4 November, 1972 in Almada, Portugal to Antonio CaeiroFigo and his wife Maria Joana Pestana Madeira. According to his parents, Figo used to play football right from the time he was a child and football was his only passion.
Luis Figo joined the club U.F.C. OsPastilhas when he was a child and his talents as a street footballer were recognised by those who watched him. When he was 11 years old, Figo joined the academy at Sporting Clube de Portugal, also known as Sporting CP. He had garnered interest from bigger clubs but he chose Sporting.
As a youngster, Figo represented the Portuguese national team in the Under 21 World Championship as well as the Under 16 European Championship and helped the team win both those championships to become one of the most sought after young players in Europe.
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In 1990 Luis Figo made his senior team debut in a league game for Sporting CP and over the next five seasons he scored 16 goals in 137 appearances for the club, helping them win the Portuguese Cup in his final season. A year after his debut for Sporting CP he made his first appearance for the Portuguese national team as well.
Figo was all set to move to Italy with either Parma or Juventus but eventually he moved to Spanish giants Barcelona FC in the year 1995 for a fee of £2.25 million. It was at Barcelona that Figo really became one of the best players in the world as he helped the team win two Spanish league titles. Figo scored 30 goals in 172 appearances for the club.
In 1996, Luis Figo represented Portugal at the European Championships in England and scored a goal as the national team reached the quarter finals. Four years later he scored a goal against England in the European Championships but Portugal could not go beyond the quarter finals. Figo also helped Portugal qualify for the World Cup in Japan and Korea for the first time in 16 years but they were knocked out in the group stages.
In 2000, Luis Figo moved to Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid in a controversial move that made him a hated figure among Barcelona fans. Real Madrid paid him $60 million and that made him the most expensive player in the world. He played for Real Madrid for 5 years and won one Spanish League title in addition to the one UEFA Champions League title. He scored 38 goals in 164 games for the club.
In 2004, Luis Figo captained Portugal as the team reached the final of the European Championships held in Portugal and two years later he led the team to a third place finish at the World Cup in Germany.
Luis Figo left Real Madrid and moved to Italian club Inter Milan in the year 2005. He played for the club for four years, scored 9 goals in 105 appearances and won one Italian Serie A title in his last season at the club. He announced his retirement from football after his stint with Inter Milan was over.
In 2015, Luis Figo expressed his plan to run for the presidency of FIFA against the allegedly corrupt regime of Sepp Blatter however he withdrew from the campaign five months later.
Awards & Achievements
Luis Figo won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2001.
He is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders to have ever played and his most important achievement is that of leading his country to their best finish in a World Cup in their history at the 2006 event. Portugal finished third in the tournament and Figo played a very important role.
Personal Life & Legacy
Luis Figo got married to Swedish super model Helen Svedin in the year 2001 after a relationship of five years. They have three daughters - Daniela, Martina and Stella.