Saturday, January 18, 2014
Figo signed for Real Madrid because he thought Florentino Pérez would never get elected the president of Real Madrid?
Luis Figo's transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000 is perhaps the most controversial transfer of all-time. According to Steve McManaman, Figo signed for Real Madrid because he thought Florentino Pérez would never get elected the president of Real Madrid.
In 2000, Real Madrid was holding an election to elect its president. Lorenzo Sanz, the president of Real Madrid at the time, just led Real Madrid to two European Cup titles in 1998 and 2000. The two titles were Real Madrid's first European Cup since 1966. Florentino Pérez was not a big contender on the election. He was relatively unknown, but he had something up his sleeve. He discovered a release clause in Luis Figo's contract with Barcelona. So he offered Figo a pre-contract. The deal would only go through if Perez got elected. According to Steve McManaman, Figo assumed that Sanz would be reelected easily. Thus, if he signed with Perez, the signing bonus would be easy money. Besides, Figo was negotiating with Barcelona at that moment. He could use the rumor to get a better deal. After the election, Figo could just simply deny the deal and no one would ever know. So he signed the pre-contract while denying it up until a few days before he was introduced as a Real Madrid player. But when Perez leaked information of the deal, suddenly, the tide switched and Perez was elected the President of Real Madrid. The rest is history.