June 2000 was a glorious summer. It Feels So Good by Sonique was smashing the charts. Me, Myself & Irene was released in the cinema and Figo was sealing a move from Barcelona to Real Madrid.
He sealed the transfer by scoring an obscene goal for Portugal against England in Euro 2000.
England had a ridiculous team – Owen and Shearer up front, Scholes and Beckham in midfield and Tony Adams and Sol Campbell at the back. They made an amazing start going 2 up in 20 minutes. Scholes opened the scoring and McManaman made it 2-0 to England. But Portugal didn’t panic.
Figo started the fight back but scoring an absolute thunder bolt past David Seaman. He picked the ball up in his own half and wandered towards the goal. Ince and Scholes left shed loads of space and he took advantage by leathering a shot past David Seaman. The Arsenal and England goalie didn’t move. It sparked a come back for Portugal who ended up winning 3-2.
Soon after Euro 2000 the Portuguese winger signed for Real Madrid from Barcelona for a record $60.1 million. Figo’s signing marked the beginning of the galactico era at Madrid but the Barcelona fans weren’t having it.
When Real Madrid played Barcelona, Figo got hammered with all kinds of stuff. Pigs head. Knife. Whiskey bottle. Salgado who would normally go over for a short corner told him to stuff it.
By the second or third corner I turned to Luís Figo and said: ‘Forget it, mate. You’re on your own’. I used to offer Luís the chance to take the short corner, drawing up close to him near the touchline, but not this time. Missiles were raining down from the stands: coins, a knife, a glass whisky bottle. Johnnie Walker, I think. Best to keep away. Short corners? No thanks.