After opening his goalscoring accounts in both Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, Luís Figo is beginning to settle at FC Internazionale Milano.
Having found the target first in Inter's 2-0 win against Parma FC on 20 November, the former Real Madrid CF winger then struck in last week's 4-0 UEFA Champions League victory against FC Artmedia - as well as creating another goal for Adriano with a long ball that left three defenders stranded.
That success put Inter into the knockout rounds with one Matchday to spare, but Figo was quick to underplay his contribution. "The most important thing is that we got the win and that means we are through to the last 16," said Figo, who was playing his 87th game in the top continental competition.
Nonetheless, the 2000 European Footballer of the Year admitted his strike against Parma had come as a major relief. "The fans were waiting for that goal and I'm very pleased to have got it for them," he said. "I was a bit unlucky before, but now it seems I am over that spell."
The 33-year-old is looking for further improvement as he gets used to a change of scene after ten Spanish seasons with FC Barcelona and then Madrid. "I'm still not completely satisfied with my play," said Figo. "You do more physical and tactical work here than in Spain."
One less worry for Figo is where he lines up on the pitch after Nerazzurri coach Roberto Mancini restored him to his preferred spot on the right flank. "That's his natural position, even though he has great class and can play in many other positions," said Mancini.
After employing the Portuguese international in a supporting role behind two forwards at the start of the Parma match, Mancini switched him to his favoured perch for the second half and was rewarded when Figo promptly scored. Of Mancini's tactical changes, Figo said: "The interest of the team comes first and I always look to adapt to the needs of the coach."
Also happy to have Figo roaming wide is Inter captain Javier Zanetti. "I benefit from having him on my wing because the whole team benefits from having a player of his quality," said Zanetti.
Although Inter remain a long way behind Juventus in the Italian title race, Figo is upbeat about their chances of silverware. "Inter have great players and can do well this year," he added. "We just need to keep working hard and have faith in ourselves."
Of the criticism levelled at Inter for kicking off the Artmedia tie with no Italians in their side, Figo - the sole European in their lineup - deferred to his coach. "Only foreigners on the pitch? I realise it now you mention it," said Mancini. "For me, they are all Inter players and all footballers are equal."
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