Legend who got both love and hate equally
Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo is a retired Portuguese footballer who played for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale. He was not only one of the greatest footballers of his country but also one of the greatest midfielders that football has ever seen. Today on his 45th Birthday where his whole journey is like an inspiration to a neonatal.
Early Life :
Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo was born on 4 November, 1972 in Almada, Portugal to António Caeiro Figo and his wife Maria Joana Pestana Madeira. According to his parents, Figo used to play football right from the time he was a child and football was his only passion.
Luis Figo joined the club U.F.C. OsPastilhas when he was a child and his talents as a street footballer were recognised by those who watched him. When he was 11 years old, Figo joined the academy at Sporting Clube de Portugal, also known as Sporting CP. He had garnered interest from bigger clubs but he chose Sporting.
As a youngster, Figo represented the Portuguese national team in the Under 21 World Championship as well as the Under 16 European Championship and helped the team win both those championships to become one of the most sought after young players in Europe.
In 1990 Luis Figo made his senior team debut in a league game for Sporting CP and over the next five seasons he scored 16 goals in 137 appearances for the club, helping them win the Portuguese Cup in his final season. A year after his debut for Sporting CP he made his first appearance for the Portuguese national team as well.
— Footy Throwback (@FootyThrowback) August 16, 2016
Figo was all set to move to Italy with either Parma or Juventus but eventually he moved to Spanish giants Barcelona FC in the year 1995 for a fee of £2.25 million. It was at Barcelona that Figo really became one of the best players in the world as he helped the team win two Spanish league titles. Figo scored 30 goals in 172 appearances for the club.
What about Figo in a Barcelona shirt? pic.twitter.com/nDjkl07UYb
— Fred (@le_Fred_A) August 17, 2017
In 1996, Luis Figo represented Portugal at the European Championships in England and scored a goal as the national team reached the quarterfinals. Four years later he scored a goal against England in the European Championships but Portugal could not go beyond the quarter finals. Figo also helped Portugal qualify for the World Cup in Japan and Korea for the first time in 16 years but they were knocked out in the group stages.
In 2000, Luis Figo moved to Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid in a controversial move that made him a hated figure among Barcelona fans. Real Madrid paid him $60 million and that made him the most expensive player in the world. He played for Real Madrid for 5 years and won one Spanish League title in addition to the one UEFA Champions League title. He scored 38 goals in 164 games for the club.
— Barça OTD (@barcaotd) October 21, 2017
In 2004, Luis Figo captained Portugal as the team reached the final of the European Championships held in Portugal and two years later he led the team to a third place finish at the World Cup in Germany.
— Inna Volvak (@InnaVVV) November 30, 2012
Luis Figo left Real Madrid and moved to Italian club Inter Milan in the year 2005. He played for the club for four years, scored 9 goals in 105 appearances and won one Italian Serie A title in his last season at the club. He announced his retirement from football after his stint with Inter Milan was over.
Portugal international midfielder Luis Figo has signed for Inter Milan in a two-year deal with the club on a free pic.twitter.com/ZjBlwbNArh
— Slow Sports News (@SlowSportsNews) August 5, 2014
In 2015, Luis Figo expressed his plan to run for the presidency of FIFA against the allegedly corrupt regime of Sepp Blatter however he withdrew from the campaign five months later.
Style of Play :
At his physical peak, Figo was a quick, elegant, highly skillful player with a dribbling ability that allowed him to frequently take on and beat defenders in one on one situations.He would often employ feints to beat opponents, such as step-overs. Figo was usually deployed as a winger in his early career, where he was capable of providing several assists, due to his ability to provide curling crosses to teammates from the flank, or cut inside, link-up with midfielders, and create goal-scoring opportunities. He has made the second most assists in La Liga history behind Lionel Messi.
UEFA Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 1994
Portuguese Golden Ball: 1994
Sporting CP Player of the Year: 1994
Portuguese Footballer of the Year: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
ESM Team of the Year: 1997–98, 1999-00
La Liga Foreign Player of the Year: 1999, 2000, 2001
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2000, 2004
World Soccer (magazine) Player of the Year: 2000
Ballon d’Or: 2000
FIFA World Player of the Year: 2001
FIFA World Player of the Year – Silver Award: 2000
UEFA Team of the Year: 2003
UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2004–05
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2006
Inter Milan Player of the Year: 2006
Golden Foot: 2011, as football legend.
Serie A: 2005,2006,2007,2008
Supercopa De Espana: 2001,2003
UEFA Champions League: 2002
UEFA Super Cup: 2002
Inter-continental cup: 2002
Copa Del Rey: 1997,1998
Supercopa de Espana: 1996
UEFA Cup Winners’ cup: 1997
UEFA Super cup: 1997
Taca de Portugal: 1994
UEFA European Football Championship: Runner-up in 2004
FIFA U-20 World cup: 1991
UEFA European U-17 Football Championship: 1989
UEFA European U-21 Football Championship: Runner-up in 1994
Recently he received,
Officer of the Order of Prince Henry.
Medal of Merit, Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa .
Personal Life :
Luis Figo got married to Swedish super model Helen Svedin in the year 2001 after a relationship of five years. They have three daughters – Daniela, Martina and Stella.
He is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders to have ever played and his most important achievement is that of leading his country to their best finish in a World Cup in their history at the 2006 event. Portugal finished third in the tournament and Figo played a very important role.
A blessing Happy Birthday for such a world class sports man.