Luis Figo on Real Madrid, Barcelona and talks with Liverpool
In an interview with Sid Lowe for The Guardian, Figo discussed what it was like to leave Barcelona for Real Madrid.
In an interview with Sid Lowe for The Guardian, Luis Figo spoke about what it meant to leave Camp Nou for the Santiago Bernabéu. “I was very calm about my own position although at the same time I had a [duty of] care for those working with me. But the decision, I take. I’m the one responsible for it, for my actions. The decision to pull them from that responsibility is mine alone. And a year later I stop working with my agent. Because of some situations that emerged. I said: ‘OK, I’ll take responsibility again. From now on, you have your life, I have mine.
“I had everything in Barcelona, but you think: ‘It’s not like I’m going to a second-rate club.’ If it hadn’t been Madrid, maybe I wouldn’t have gone. It’s a challenge, a decision based on feeling valued, convincing me I was going to be an extremely important piece. It could have been a cagada, a cock-up, but it wasn’t, thank God.”
Figo went on to discuss the friendships that fell by the wayside after his departure from Barcelona: “Maybe it was good because I thought they were friends and they weren’t. You realise. When it happened, they no longer want to appear with you because of how it looks [in Barcelona].” There’s a sigh. “It’s complicated, but I understand. Well, I don’t understand but I don’t care. In the end, I have a very strong concept of friendship, so it surprises you; you suffer because you have a relationship with people you think are genuine and it doesn’t turn out that way”.
On the media frenzy around him
“These days, there’s more protection. It felt like I was doing a press conference every day. That takes its toll. We were starting to tour, a new idea, there was the rivalry, the pressure, the price. My only concern was if something happened physically, some madman. But go and play football? Nah! In football there’s no reason to be scared.”
Vicente del Bosque
“He is one of the best people and coaches I’ve encountered. Managing 25 egos is the hardest thing in the world. It’s not about imposing, all ‘argh, argh’, like a child, he understood. There were egos, there are always egos, but there were great professionals who wanted to compete, win, who respected each other’s space. If everyone’s like, ‘No, I’m the world’s best, you run’, it’s chaos. We had a good atmosphere.”
On talks with Liverpool
“I would have liked to go. We talked a lot. One week they say, ‘No, wait, we can’t do it just now’ and then they sign a player. Then, ‘Wait a few more days, we need to sort this first’ and they sign another. I think: ‘Bloody hell, are you messing with me, or what?’ Inter appear, I go to Milan, meet [the club president Massimo] Moratti and take the decision. I loved Inter, it was exactly what I needed.”