Former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Luis Figo is in Mumbai along with the UEFA media and public relations team as well as the UEFA Champions League trophy (replica). He is here for the Global Fan Event as well as the trophy tour, which is later going to move on to Shanghai and Rio De Janeiro.
In an exclusive with select media, Figo spoke about his belief in Real Madrid as a club and them doing good with or without Ronaldo, the use of VAR in the Champions League and other topics.
How manager Zinedine Zidane’s departure has hurt Real Madrid this season…
I think it’s not the moment to criticise because it was really a tough week for Real Madrid as they lost everything in one week. About Zidane, it was a personal decision he took last summer. They (Real) did not have much time to settle because they had little time to find the new coach after Zidane left.
And this season, unlike earlier, did not start so well, then they changed coach, the players, they had the World Cup, different players joined the pre-season at different times. It is not always a good thing. They didn’t rest enough and so the results were not good. What they have to do I don’t know. I am not a part of Real Madrid system, I am an old player. I don’t want to talk about things that I am not directly involved in. I should respect the position (UEFA ambassador) that I’m in right now and also respect the people who are inside the club.
Impact Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit had on Real Madrid…
It is his decision and I don’t know what happened between him and the club that made him change clubs. He is the best football player in the world, so when he moves, of course, there will be a big impact. But I don’t know the reasons. All I can say is that Ronaldo is a great professional and is making history in football. Real Madrid is one of the biggest clubs in the world and football is like that. Real Madrid will survive without Ronaldo. Yes, Ronaldo is making history without Real, but that is football.
How confident he is about Real Madrid’s coach, Santiago Solari?
He is my friend and when you have friends in such positions, you always wish good for them. What is going to happen in the future, I don’t know. Because the world of coaches is very tough; it all depends on the results.
What he thinks Real Madrid can do for the remainder of the season?
We always fight, we can fight for the league, until we have a chance.
If given a chance, would he coach Real Madrid?
Who, me? I’m very happy working with UEFA to develop football and I don’t have a license to coach and it is very difficult without a license in today’s world.
What was his emotions while playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid in El Classico?
The only difference was I played for two different teams, but my mentality was the same. I wanted to win every game. It doesn’t change too much because I was trying to help one project (team) at a time.
What do you think Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has brought to Manchester United?
I think Ole is doing great work since he came to United. I think the results are showing in the work he is doing. We have to congratulate him since he became the manager.
On old friend Jose Mourinho’s future as a coach…
You know, the life of a coach is very difficult because you have to always finish winning. Everyone likes to win, but it is not always possible to win with 25 players. You know Jose is a really good coach. He has won so many titles in his career. Right now, it is a moment to reflect, think and improve his ideas and probably he will coach next year.