Luis Figo explains decision to join Real Madrid from Barcelona

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Luis Figo is still a name that will draw a frown from almost every Barcelona supporter you mention it to, whether they were even alive at the time of his perceived betrayal or not.

The former Portuguese winger completed one of the most controversial transfers in the last 25 years - and possibly all time - when he swapped the Catalan giants for their fierce rivals Real Madrid in 2000.

Just weeks before being presented as one of the first Galacticos at the Bernabeu, Figo had pledged his loyalty to Barcelona and 'reassured' supporters he would remain at the Camp Nou for the upcoming campaign.

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He wasn't the first and definitely not the last footballer to go back on his promise, however, Barca fans have never forgiven him for such a retraction.

The animosity remains as such that Figo was forced to pull out of appearing in a legends match against Juventus before the 2015 Champions League final.

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And, although it is unlikely to make any difference to supporters from Catalonia, Figo has attempted to clear up what made him go back on his initial pledge to Barcelona.

“It's all in the past, but it all began with a question of recognition. I came to Madrid to win more titles and for prestige. And on better financial terms, of course," he told Spanish publication AS.

“You’ll never hear me speak badly of Barcelona, except perhaps about the way I left. It was a fantastic time for me, a period of my career that really helped me to grow as a player.

“I really enjoyed my five years there, I don’t regret anything. It allowed me to be the professional I wanted to be and I only have good things to say. I was very, very lucky to meet Johan Cruyff.”

Real Madrid's players Portuguese Luis Figo (2nd L)

Admitting the wage hike played a key role in the controversial deal could just infuriate fans from his former club further as that has been the accusation often thrown towards the now 43-year-old.

To put it into today's perspective just how huge the transfer was, imagine if either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo swapped allegiances - there is almost an unwritten law in Spain against moving from one of the country's most successful teams to the other.

There aren't too many more fierce rivalries than that of Madrid-Barca and even though Figo has been retired for over seven years now, football fans have very long memories and are unlikely to ever forgive him.

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