The attacker—who began his career at Sporting Lisbon—enjoyed five fine years in Catalonia, winning two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey on two occasions, and a host of continental honours.
However, he turned his back on the domestic heavyweights to join Real in the summer of 2000, turning his back on the Nou Camp giants in one of the most controversial transfers in the history of the game.
Understandably, the move went down badly with Barca supporters, who marked Figo’s first return to the Nou Camp—in October 2000—by screaming mercilessly at the wideman and hurling objects—including a pig’s head—at their former star.
Figo went on to become one of Los Merengues’ Galacticos, winning two more Spanish titles, the Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup with the capital club before leaving for Inter Milan five years later.
Speaking on Acento Robinson on Cadena Ser, the 43-year-old has revealed his interaction with Florentino Perez ahead of the switch and explained that it was entirely his decision to betray Barca.
“I never made a commitment with Florentino, I made one with Real Madrid,” Figo began. “Florentino, who was a presidential candidate, brokered a deal with my representative, not with me because I was under contract and couldn’t sign an agreement with someone standing for the presidency.
“During that time me and my agent had a spoken relationship,” he added, “there wasn’t a contract tying me to him.
“What they’ve said are lies,” he added. “What happened next was my decision.
“Seeing what the situation was and with the commitment of my agent,” he concluded. “I decided to sign for Real Madrid.”