History: In the summer of 2000, Real Madrid’s presidential candidate Florentino Pérez promised voters that he would sign Luis Figo, one of the biggest stars in world football, from his arch-rivals Barcelona if he were elected president. He scoffed and scoffed at the idea at first, but when the transfer finally materialized, it became one of the most hostile transfers in football history.
Analysis: Anyone who follows European club football knows the ‘Galácticos’ – Florentino Pérez’s vision of a European super-team of the world’s biggest stars. He also made the Real Madrid scouting team and coaching staff redundant as a politician was deciding the football side for the Spanish giants. Pérez ended up signing Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, Robinho, Makélélé, Ramos and Figo. This was already a team that boasted superstars like Casillas. Hierro, Raúl, Guti, Roberto Carlos and many more. But the promise of bringing Figo from Barcelona was to be a signing that would not only give Real Madrid a psychological advantage but also deprive Barcelona of their star player. The most important Perez
Few took it seriously when the story spread that Figo might be moving to the Spanish capital. Simply because the Catalans loved Figo and he wore the colors of the blaugrana with proud. And most importantly, the consequences, if they happened, would be catastrophic. The animosity between the two clubs goes beyond a conventional football rivalry, it is deeply rooted in Spain’s cultural and political divide that dates back to the Spanish civil war and the days of dictator General Francisco Franco – Barcelona represented the Spanish separatist movement while Real Madrid represented Spanish nationalism. In other words, Figo had the weight of history on his shoulders.
The documentary sheds light on why Figo considered switching sides. He gives his own account of what compelled him to make the switch. Unfortunately for the great football player, he seems naive because it looks like he was forced to move by his aides. his agent José Veiga, and all those who would profit from the transfer. While arguing that he didn’t feel ‘loved’ enough by the Barcelona board because they refused to offer him more money. To make matters worse, Figo even gave an interview stating that he would never make the switch just days before signing for Real Madrid.
Despite what you might think of Figo as an individual, the abuse he received after the transfer is something no one should go through. The dark side of football showed its ugly head when Figo’s visit to Camp Nou as a Real Madrid player was extremely hostile. Objects were thrown into the field, including the head of a piglet – something that was not discussed extensively in the documentary. But the worst part of the fiasco was the abuse and threats against his family. The entire transfer saga was a cocktail of one man’s fragile ego, agents fueled by greed, another man’s lust for power, and a hostile fan base that turned against their hero.
The documentary brought together Florentino Pérez and then Barcelona president Joan Gaspard for exclusive interviews. And, incredibly, it also features football royalty Pep Guardiola, Roberto Carlos and Fernando Hierro. However, there are some minor shortcomings that hold back the documentary. The editing and narrative aspect is crooked and the non-linear chronology can confuse audiences, especially those new to this story.
Verdict: An engaging documentary that gives great insight into one of the most controversial football transfers in history.