We cannot talk about why Barcelona hates Figo without first knowing who Figo is. Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo is a retired Portuguese professional footballer. He played as a winger for several top European clubs, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. Figo was such a star and fan favourite during his play period that he was idolized by his club and fans.
Now, let’s delve into the main reasons why Barcelona fans hate Figo.
2 Main Reasons Why Barcelona Hates Figo
Although there could be many reasons why Barcelona hates Figo, we’ll highlight just two below.
Figo played for FC Barcelona Football Club for five seasons and won several titles during this period.
In the year 2000, Figo’s contract at Barcelona was due and it could either be renewed or he could be transferred to another football club. Have in mind that Luis Figo was the dream of every other Spanish team’s fan including Real Madrid.
In that same year, there was to be a Real Madrid presidential election and Florentino Perez, the wealthiest man in Spain was contesting for president. As usual, presidential campaigns are carried out, and the candidates make promises to the people to get votes. In other to win the election, Florentino Perez had to do something spectacular. He went to Figo’s agent, Jose Veiga, and offered him an unreal deal and a quite messy deal.
The deal was that if Perez won the elections, which was impossible at that time, Figo will be signed to Madrid. But if Perez loses the election, he was to pay Figo a sum of 1.7 million pounds sterling. Also, if Perez won the election and Figo refuses a deal with Madrid, Figo was to pay Perez a total of 22-million-pound sterling.
This deal was quite tricky, but Figo took it as a chance to get a better contract deal from Barcelona as he didn’t want to leave Camp Nou (the home stadium of FC Barcelona).
Little did he know that Perez went to the over 80,000 registered voters in Real Madrid to campaign for votes, saying that he was going to sign Luis Figo to Real Madrid if he won the upcoming elections.
And if he didn’t fulfil this promise, he told these 80k members that he would pay their membership fee the following year, according to Alfredo Relano’s book,” Nacidos Para Incordiarse”. Well, they all voted, and Florentino Perez became president. At this time, Barcelona also had a new president, Joan Gaspart, and Perez with his status and influence urged Gaspart to undo the deal Figo had in Barcelona or pay him the 22-million-pound sterling as a penalty.
Gaspart didn’t pay the penalty because it would have gone to Real Madrid’s players and guaranteed them free matches at the Bernabeu (the home stadium of Real Madrid). Figo had to sign with Real Madrid to his dismay, but then a transfer fee of 60 million euros was made to his delight. Figo became the first player of the Perez Galactico Project, followed by some others who then made up the Galactico Era.
This move by Luis Figo from FC Barcelona to their rival team, Real Madrid was seen as a betrayal by Barcelona fans and Figo became a hated figure among the club’s supporters.
Many people might not see Figo’s move as being greedy, but it is. He was lured into playing for one of the best clubs in the world, Real Madrid where he would be getting quite more than what Barcelona were paying at that time.
He could have easily refused it, letting his current club as at then, Barcelona pay the penalty and retain him. But he didn’t. Figo’s manager as at then is also to be blamed for this greedy attitude as he initially signed the transfer deal with Perez at that time.
A lot of football fans do not know the inside story of why Barcelona hates Luis Figo and what caused the transfer of the player. The transfer was seen by many as a betraying move and caused a great deal of controversy that brought about hate for Figo. I mean, moving to the archenemies?
Although Figo stated during his career that he had no regrets about leaving Barcelona, the move is still seen and remembered by Barcelona supporters.
Also, a lot could have been done to avoid this hate that still lingers to date. The deal on Figo wasn’t a “do or die affair”. It was a thing of choice and compensation, and he took a better option without regrets.
Regardless, it is worth noting that Figo also had a successful career at Real Madrid, where he also won several titles and became the fan’s favourite.