One of Portugal's most famous footballers, Luís Figo started his role as the official 2014 UEFA Champions League final ambassador by participating in the group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco – kicking off a busy year leading up to next year's final in his home city of Lisbon.
The 40-year-old has been working as an ambassador for FC Internazionale Milano since hanging up his boots in 2009, bringing down the curtain on a glittering career that encompassed trophy-laden spells with Sporting Clube de Portugal, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF and Inter. Born in Lisbon in November 1972, Figo won the UEFA Champions League with Madrid in 2002 and is relishing the prospect of a final in familiar surroundings.
"For me it's a pleasure and an honour to be present at another edition of the Champions League – in this case in the role of ambassador," he told UEFA.com. "I'm extremely honoured, because the final this year will be played in Portugal. To have that opportunity, being a football person and knowing that we're talking about the most important club competition in the world, is an honour."
Lisbon staged the 1967 European Cup final – Inter losing to Celtic FC – and Figo is hopeful of another memorable spectacle at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on 24 May.
"For the whole country, to have the chance to host the final of the best club competition is a great honour," he explained. "We're sure it's going to be a fantastic evening for all of Portugal; we just have to hope it will be as successful as the last few editions."
"The role of an ambassador is to promote the competition everywhere even more," said Figo, Portugal's most-capped player having made 127 international appearances. "From my personal experience I know well that it's a competition which is watched by millions of people."
Looking back to his own moment of victory in 2002, Figo added: "It's always a dream come true when you have the chance to win this trophy. From a young age you see it on the television; you have that dream. When we made it real, it was a fantastic night for us.
"The objective and the dream of any player is to be able to win this trophy. As an ambassador at this moment, I'm here to help UEFA promote this competition even more, to gain even more interest from the spectators and the fans."
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