Figo announces retirement
Luis Figo has officially announced his retirement from football after over 900 appearances.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 30/05/09 1:46pm
Luis Figo has officially announced his retirement from football after over 900 appearances in total.
The 36-year-old will play his last game for Inter Milan on Sunday when they host Atalanta at the San Siro.
It is fitting that the midfielder will go out on a high as the Nerazzurri celebrate their fourth successive scudetto after the match.
The Portuguese magician has won all there is to win in the club game with league titles and a UEFA Champions League success in Spain to match his achievements in Italy and native Portugal.
"Tomorrow, May 31st 2009, will be my last Sunday as a footballer," he told the club's official website.
"I'm happy that my last Sunday as a footballer will be a party time for me and for everyone at Inter after our fourth straight scudetto.
"And I know only one road on the path to victory, that of sacrifice and hard work.
"They taught me that as a young lad at Sporting (Lisbon) and everything I've achieved didn't happen out of chance but due to many sacrifices."
Figo has also scooped individual awards along the way, winning the Fifa World Player of the Year award in 2001 a year after he won the Ballon d'Or.
The winger began his career with Sporting before switching to Barcelona. After establishing himself as one of the team's stars he committed the sin of joining rivals Real Madrid for a then world record £38million.
Barca have never let Figo forget the move and the former Portugal skipper even had a pig's head thrown at him on his first return to the Camp Nou as a Real player.
After five successful years as a Galactico, Figo moved to Inter in the summer of 2005. The six-times Portuguese player of the year amassed a staggering 127 caps for his country while playing almost 800 club games.
Labelled one of Portugal's golden generation along with Rui Costa and Joao Pinto after they won the European Under-16 Championship and World Under-20 Championship, Figo failed to transfer that success to the senior squad.
The closest the veteran came to lifting a major honour with his country was when they lost the final of the European Championship in 2004 on home soil.
However Figo remains philosopical about his career and is grateful for the life that football has given him.
"Football has given me so much but most of all it has given me the opportunity to meet incredible people, lifelong friends," he concluded.