“Figo, Figo, Figo”. In his years at Barcelona, the public at Camp Nou raised their expectations when their favorite player came on the ball. His step-overs were spectacular, but the most impressive thing was to see Luis Figo send an opponent the wrong way with a minimal dip of the shoulder. One had to pay close attention to see what exactly happened, but in face of the Portuguese winger defenders sometimes simply fell over.
With his many successful one-on-one duels, Figo garnered worldwide admiration during the European Championship. Not long after, he won the Ballon d’ Or and then makes the most controversial move of his career. He switches Barcelona for Real Madrid.
When he first played with Barcelona at the Camp Nou, on October 23, 2000, Luis Figo was called out in a way that has never happened before or after. A disapproving hissing rose in Camp Nou every time Figo came near the ball. “Anything goes, because a traitor does not deserve better,” said the sports newspaper Sport on the eve of the match. It used two pages for a picture of a ten billion pesetas note, the transfer fee Real paid for Figo. “Money grubber” is the headline.
Figo suffers from twitches. “He looks anxiously from the corners of his eyes, nervously rubbing his face with his hands, the Brabants Dagblad writes the next day. “As if he suspects what disaster awaits him”. At the first step on the turf is the hissing swells to a hurricane strength, goes through the marrow and bone and must have been heard in the streets of Madrid. Figo is startled and puts his thumbs in his ears. Oranges, tomatoes, eggs, bottles, coins, cell phones “, it all descends on him from the crowd. Barcelona wins 2-0. Real Madrid doesn’t stand a chance. And the Catalan rage was not going to cool down anytime soon. On a subsequent visit to Barcelona, Figo even got a pig’s head thrown at him.