Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He won his first senior international cap in 1991; prior to that, he won the Under-20 World Championships and Under-16 European Championships with Portugal junior sides. Figo moved to FC Barcelona from Sporting Clube de Portugal (club which developed many other great Portuguese players) in 1995, but not before a dispute with Juventus and Parma, with whom he had signed a double contract, under risk of a lengthy ban. The situation was eventually resolved, and in four years be became a fan-favourite, captain and symbol of the Catalan side. In 2000 his transfer to Barcelona's arch-rival, Real Madrid, for a record-breaking £37,000,000 only intensified the great animosity between the two clubs. There was a short-lived website (antifigo.com) devoted to insult "judas Figo"; he missed his highly anticipated first return to the Nou Camp due to injury; in 2002, Barcelona's ground was banned after objects were thrown at Figo, and finally, during the final match between Greece and Portugal in the UEFA Euro 2004 championships, a Barça fan ran across the field and threw a FC Barcelona flag at Figo in an apparent act of defiance (see Jimmy Jump).
Already a great winger at the beginning of his career, Figo eventually became one of the best players of the world, and undoubtedly the best winger of his generation. His dazzling dribbling and the amazing amount of assists (Figo confesses that he enjoys assisting as much as scoring) assured him success and fame all over the world.
Luís Figo is nowadays one of the main Portuguese symbols and ambassadors. Many Portuguese travelling outside southern Europe get "Oh! Figo! Figo!" as a reply, when saying they are Portuguese.
He was 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year and is arguably one of the great all-time players.
In November 2004, shortly after the racist incidents in Madrid during the Spain-England friendly, Figo was revealed alongside other Real Madrid teammates, to be sympathisers of Real's Ultra group Ultras Sur, a group well known for its xenophobic and neo-nazi links. Pictures of Figo and Raúl (who was already known as a hero for the group) smiling for the camera while holding a scarf and flag of the Ultras Surs was printed in a Sunday newspaper. They have posed for more than a few photographs and granted interviews to the group's fanzine.
- Champions League (2002, Real Madrid)
- Cup Winners' Cup (1997, FC Barcelona)
- FIFA World Youth Championship (1991, Portugal)
- Spanish League (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid)
- Spanish Cup (1997, 1998, FC Barcelona)
- Portuguese Cup (1995, Sporting Lisbon)
- Ballon d'or 2000 (France Football prize)
- 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year
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