Interviews

The big interview: Luis Figo – "Barça weren't treating me properly – it was too late when they did, so I joined Real Madrid"

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You’re a fan of Queen: is Queen reforming without Freddie Mercury wrong? What’s you’re favourite Queen song?
Rhys Evans, Hartlepool

Actually I’m not a big fan of Queen. I respect them a lot for what they have achieved. I think it’s good they are reforming again, as long as they keep the quality they had before. My favourite Queen song? Well, I guess I will have to say it’s We Are The Champions. It’s a natural choice, no?

After Calciopoli, did the Inter players really celebrate winning the title, or did it feel like a hollow victory?
Joe Harper, Gloucester

Luis Figo

"It was a fair prize for all the players that had committed so much for Inter," says Figo

When the final decision was made public, most of us weren’t in Milan and of course we didn’t celebrate it the same way. But we all know that the court’s decision repaired the injustice that existed for the previous years. It was a fair prize for all the players that had committed so much for Inter and that hadn’t won due to some dark reasons.

In 2008, some loon accused you of killing a black cat that was supposedly bringing bad luck to the team. Why and how did this story come about? What did you make of this?
Colin Milburn, Glasgow

Unfortunately, it’s true that one of my team-mates did drive over a cat, here in La Pinetina

Yes, that’s one story that unbelievably came out on the front page of a paper. To write a story like that is bad, but on the front page... it’s ridiculous! The thing took such proportions that I had to take legal action. I spoke to the journalist who wrote it and I gave him the chance to retract it and write a denial. He said he wouldn’t do it and so I took legal action to defend my name and force the paper to write a denial in the same terms they wrote the story.

Unfortunately, it’s true that one of my team-mates did drive over a cat, here in La Pinetina. But I didn’t even know that until it was published in the paper.

I was gutted when you didn’t sign for Liverpool a few years ago. How close did you get to joining the Reds – or any other Premier League team for that matter?
Eddie Cawson, Greenwich

Well, it’s true that I had the chance to go to England when I left Real Madrid, but I ended up coming to Inter. Which club? It doesn’t matter now. It belongs in the past.

Can you shed light on why the transfer to Al-Ittihad fell through? You even went to Saudi Arabia to sign a contract!
Brett Marsdon, via e-mail

When the time came for them to show the bank guarantees, they never did it

Because people lied and were dishonest with me. I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia – if I had, maybe they wouldn’t have let me come out again! All the contracts were signed, by me and them, but when the time came for them to show the bank guarantees, they never did it. So I ended the contract.

Was there any truth in the rumour linking you with a move to QPR in 2008? Would you consider dropping down a division before you retire?
Sam Campbell, Gateshead

It’s totally false. There was never anything. And no, I would not consider playing in a lower division before I retire.

Loftus Road

It could have been you, Luis...

You’ve scored some great goals, but which is your favourite?
Mike Cooper, Blackpool

I didn’t score that many... maybe that goal against England at Euro 2000. It was a thrilling game and during a very big competition. Or one that I scored for Barcelona against Real Madrid.

How would you assess the achievements of the Portuguese national team during your time as a player? Good, because you reached two semi-finals and a final? Or disappointing because you never actually won anything? Which year do you think you had the best team?
Phil McDonald, Bristol

I think it was very good, it was fantastic. For a country with 10 million inhabitants to have reached two semi-finals and one final of major competitions in such a short period is something extraordinary. It’s true we didn’t win any big competitions but I think the generation to which I belonged helped to change Portuguese football.

I hope the level can be maintained because you need 100 steps to get up there and one step is enough to bring you down again. I can’t say which team was the best because we always had great teams – in the real sense of the word. We were very united, each one of us knew exactly what to do and exactly when to do it. And it happened even before Luiz Felipe Scolari took the job.

Portrait: Giorgio Ravezzani. From the March 2009 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!

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