One of the greatest wingers of all-time, Luis Figo was born on 4th November 1972 in the Portuguese city of Almada. Perhaps the most famous moment of career came when he swapped Barcelona for Real Madrid, but that does not make Luis Figo any less then one of the greatest players ever. Renowned for his creativity and having the ability to get past defenders, Figo is regarded as one of the greatest wingers of his generation, while also being the first Galactico to arrive in Real Madrid’s new era.
Having made his debut for Sporting Club de Portugal, Figo looked destined for greatness since his debut against Maritimo and nearly moved to Juventus in 1995, but a dispute and a transfer ban later, he found himself in Catalonia. It was with Barcelona that Figo’s career really took off, winning the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, starring alongside Ronaldo, followed by successive Primera División titles where he was part of a formidable attack which included Rivaldo and Patrick Kluivert.
But a controversial move to arch-rivals Real Madrid followed as Figo became the centrepiece of one of the worst rivalries in world football. The severed pig’s head in Figo’s first Classico back at the Camp Nou remains of the most iconic photos in football. Figo left Real Madrid to join Italian club Internazionale in the summer of 2005 on a free transfer, hence fulfilling his dream to play in Italy. He enjoyed a largely successful time in Italy, and eventually retired from football in 2009.
On an international level, Figo was part of Portugal’s Golden generation, as they reached the Euro 2004 at home only to lose to Greece. Figo won almost everything at club level, including the Portuguese Cup, four La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, four Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and three Italian Super Cups. He also managed to win the World Player of the Year in 2000 and the Balon d’ Or in 2001. Figo will always be remembered as one of the best players of his time, even though his controversial moves threatened to ruin it.