Champions League 100 club: Luís Figo

Luís Figo, a former European champion with Real Madrid, is the latest UEFA Champions League centurion in the spotlight.

In the latest instalment of our series taking a closer look at the elite group of players to have made 100 or more UEFA Champions League appearances, we pore over the career of former Sporting, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter midfielder Luís Figo.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 100 CLUB

Appearances

Watch highlights of the 2002 Champions League final
Watch highlights of the 2002 Champions League final

Total: 103
Barcelona: 24
Real Madrid: 58
Inter Milan: 21

Goals

Total: 24
Barcelona: 7
Real Madrid: 16
Inter Milan: 1

Best performance: winner (Real Madrid, 2002)

If you don't remember him ...

Figo won the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year award
Figo won the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year award©Getty Images

Known for his pace and dribbling, Figo was an assist king and free-kick expert with a powerful shot. Nurtured at the revered Sporting academy, he made his senior debut aged 17 and caught the eye with his creativity. Though he joined Barcelona in 1995, he enjoyed his best years at rivals Real Madrid.

His talents earned the Ballon d'Or in 2000, FIFA's World Player of the Year in 2001 and UEFA Champions League glory in 2002. The winger also belonged to Portugal's 'golden generation' that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1991 and finished second on home soil at UEFA EURO 2004. He bowed out of international duty after the 2006 FIFA World Cup with 127 caps and 32 goals – both records at the time.

How he made it to 100 appearances

Signed by Barça in '95, Figo did not make his UEFA Champions League bow for another two years. He went on to feature in 12 campaigns of Europe's premier club competition, lifting the trophy in 2002 and becoming the sixth player to reach a century of appearances (after Raúl González, Roberto Carlos, Paolo Maldini, David Beckham and Oliver Kahn). He retired after four years with Inter.

His best moments

  • Introduced himself to the world, in September 1997, with an assist and a long-range goal on his UEFA Champions League debut – a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle.

  • Kicked off Real Madrid's victorious 2001/02 campaign with the Merengues' first goal, a fantastic free-kick in a 2-1 win at Roma.

  • Opened the scoring in the first leg of Madrid's 2002/03 quarter-final against Man. United with a sensational curling effort over Fabien Barthez from the edge of the area.

What others said about him

Figo with Mourinho after his last ever game
Figo with Mourinho after his last ever game©Getty Images

"It's always sad when great players reach the end [of their playing days]. I remember Figo playing his last match with me at Inter – it was one of the saddest days of my career."
José Mourinho, Figo's former Nerazzurri coach

"I remember, before Figo went to Barcelona, facing him in a match against Sporting. He was very young, 18 or 19, and nobody knew him. He came to the Bernabéu and I said, 'Who is this guy?'. Single-handed, he drove us mad. He was a tremendous player."
Manolo Sanchís, former Madrid captain and team-mate

"You could put Figo in a phone booth along with 11 opponents and he would find his way to the door. He would dribble past them all and find a way out."
Carlos Queiroz, Figo's former Portugal (at all age levels) and Madrid coach

In case you missed them ...

Champions League 100 club: Andriy Shevchenko
Champions League 100 club: Oliver Kahn

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