FC Internazionale Milano ambassador Luís Figo encouraged the club's players to "enjoy the moment" as he and two illustrious former team-mates shared their thoughts on Saturday's final.
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FC Internazionale Milano ambassador Luís Figo believes the club's players have already "shown they are winners" as they prepare to take on FC Bayern München in Saturday's UEFA Champions League final.
Inter completed the Italian double last Sunday, 24 hours after Bayern did likewise in Germany, and are now just 90 minutes away from ending a 45-year wait for victory on club football's biggest stage. "After dominating and winning everything in Italy in recent years, this is what people were looking for," said Figo. "Every team in Europe dreams of playing in the final so let's enjoy this moment. I'm sure the players will."
Figo knows all about lifting the famous trophy, even if his Real Madrid CF side of 2002 needed a volley of outrageous brilliance from Zinédine Zidane to defeat Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2002. The Portuguese expects Inter to face a similar test at the Santiago Bernabéu. "The two teams are similar in their styles of play; it's going to be an intense match physically," he said.
"Inter are at ease when they don't have the ball. We have fast players up front and look to attack at speed. Bayern are a typical German side, well set up. Both teams are comfortable without the ball. This year has shown all the Inter players you can be victorious with hard work; the team have shown they are winners. I hope it will be an interesting match and, in the end, Inter will win."
Figo was speaking in Madrid at a conference to promote UEFA Grassroots Day, an event to celebrate and recognise grassroots football throughout Europe. The 37-year-old was flanked by former Madrid team-mates Fernando Hierro and Raúl González, both three-time winners of the UEFA Champions League.
Hierro, now the Spanish Football Federation's technical director, became the first Madrid captain to lift the trophy in 32 years when he did so in 1998. He said: "This will be a match between two historic clubs and on a stage like this I expect a football party in a magnificent city. It will be a tough match; finals tend to be. An early goal for either side would make the final better."
Raúl, who scored in Madrid's subsequent final victories in 2000 and 2002 on his way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in the competition, added: "It's going to be a huge final and I'll certainly enjoy watching it. I hope the better team wins. I have shared a dressing room with players on both teams and I don't think there's a better stage than the Bernabéu for them."