The former Portuguese international midfielder played for the Catalan giants Barcelona for five years before he joined archrivals Real Madrid in the summer of 2000 for what was then a world record transfer fee and was the first of the Galatico of the Florentino Perez era at the Bernabeu.
Figo became a massive hate figure in Catalunya and Barcelona. It was thought that he had already signed a pre-contract in the summer of 2000 and has never been forgiven by the Barcelona supporters.
In an interview with Spanish paper El Pais, the current Inter Milan midfielder said that he never wanted to leave Barcelona but had to do so. He said:
“I didn’t lie when I said that I wanted to stay with Barcelona. I wanted to remain there and the president also knew that. My only mistake back then was to say in an interview that I would not go.
“I could not change the opinion of the people because I could not compete with the press, the president…Out of 80,000 people, only 5,000 would believe me” he mused.
“I take responsibility for it. It is normal that if I go to Barcelona, people will hate me.”