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Luis Figo is in danger of becoming extremely unpopular in Barcelona as his latest comments on a much touted move to Real Madrid utterly contradict statements he made to a Catalan paper.

What has become known in Spain as the "Figo Affair" has now turned into Figogate with the revelation that if the Portuguese star does not sign for Real and Florentino Perez becomes President, his agent will pay the "club blanco" £20 million.

"I have an offer from senor Florentino Perez and that is why I want him to win the elections," Figo is quoted as saying in Madrid-based paper Marca a day after declaring he would be "mad" to enter an agreement with a candidate for the Real Madrid presidency.

Marca revealed they have seen at first-hand the contract signed by Figo's agent, Jose Veiga, committing the winger to Real despite the player's pledge of loyalty to Barca in Sunday's edition of Catalan paper Sport.

The document, dated 1 July, and signed by both Perez and Veiga categorically states that Figo will pay Perez £20m should he become President and not sign for the European champions. Additionally, the document asserts that Perez will pay Figo £20m in the event he becomes Real President and fails to sign him.

“I only wanted to avoid problems in Barcelona," said Figo in response to the interview he had given to reassure Nou Camp fans he would remain a Barca player. "The atmosphere that was building up there (in Barcelona) was becoming very complicated for me.”

To the Catalan press Figo had said: "I have always wanted to stay at Barcelona. "I am a professional footballer and the five years I have been with the Catalan club have been very happy."

Figo admitted receiving an offer from Madrid, as well as from Lazio, but denied having signed any agreement Perez. "I am not crazy enough to have signed any pre-contract," he said.

Figo even went on: "Nunez has always refused to talk to me about my contract, even though I have never asked Barcelona to pay me what I have been offered elsewhere. Nunez knew I was willing to sign for less than I could earn at other clubs and I just wanted to talk to him but he has not made that possible."

Should Lorenzo Sanz be re-elected as President, putting the ki-bosh on a Figo move, Veiga is believed to have prepared the way for the Portuguese playmaker to go to Lazio. The problem nonetheless remains that the star's buy-out clause is double for foreign clubs, a prohibitive £80m.

Both Barcelona Presidential front-runners, Lluis Bassat and Joan Gaspart, have promised to equal the pay deal on offer from Perez, but it is uncertain whether the fans be pleased to see a now surely fallen idol back at the Nou Camp.

The speculation – which has also thrown up the possibility of France maestro Zinedine Zidane leaving Juventus for the Spanish capital – all started as a result of Sunday's presidential elections.

Perez, right at the heart of it, is trying to drum up support with a series of ever-more outrageous boasts about who will join Real – should he be elected instead of incumbent Sanz.

And then the first official indication from Barcelona that Figo will leave the Nou Camp this summer came on Saturday from Nunez, who insisted that the "club cannot be mortgaged for just one player".

Instead, he shifted attention to what Barca might do with the £60 million in transfer money they are expected to get from the sale and the departure of Dutch players signed by the club's former manager Louis van Gaal – now in charge of Holland.

Nunez was keen to stress that, even without Figo, Barca would prosper. "It will not be bad for Barcelona if Figo leaves," he said. "[Michael] Laudrup and [Bernd] Schuster both went to Real Madrid and nothing happened to us. With the money we will earn from Figo we can buy Zidane, Beckham or Totti."

However, in the now controversial interview with Sport, Figo was quick to counter these remarks, stating: "Nunez says that Laudrup and Schuster went and the club survived and I would say that he is leaving Barcelona and the club will continue to be one of the best clubs in the world because it's the club members that make that possible."

Figo was also angered by Nunez's comments that he is the club's biggest earner and could fetch a lot of money. "It annoys me that he has said that I earn the most at the club because it is not true. I would like to go on record as saying that I have been one of the most profitable players at the club in terms of any cost-performance equation."

Madrid, too, are keen to land Zidane, who has indicated he would like to play in Spain.

Spanish billionaire Perez has bolstered his election campaign by claiming to have struck a deal with the Frenchman.

Zidane only signed a new deal with Juventus towards the end of last season – tying him to Turin until 2005 – but the Italian giants are keen to prise Nicolas Anelka from Madrid and could be willing to do business, although, according to L'Equipe, Anelka has now thrown his hat in with Paris Saint Germain.

"He [Zidane] has said on many occasions that he likes Spain," the player's agent Alen Migliaccio told Spanish daily Marca. "His wife is Spanish. I have no doubt that, if he leaves Italy, it would be to play in Spain."

Press reports claim that Figo has already received an advance of £2 million from the Perez camp and signed a clause under which he would pay £15 million if he breaks the agreement.

But Sanz hit back on Saturday, ahead of the presidential ballot on July 16, dismissing the Figo and Zidane talk as "a joke, probably to be followed by the signing of Claudia Schiffer".

Speaking to Real supporters' club members in Barcelona, Sanz suggested that Perez would not be able to finance such a deal.

"If Figo comes and earns £5 million annually, I'd like to know what would happen in the dressing room with the players with figures like those," he said.

"Signing Figo isn't only very expensive for the interests of Real Madrid, but would first make our biggest rivals richer, putting among us a man who has always looked down on us. Nobody on the coaching staff has advised the signing of Figo," Sanz added.

He urged voters not to be swayed by speculative plans for the club’s future, but to look at the reality of his own record at the club, which includes two Champions' League triumphs.

"Nobody can prevent me from appearing, like Santiago Bernabeu, in the golden history book of the club," he said.

The only conclusion which can be drawn from this complicated and sordid affair is that either someone is lieing, or Figo and his agent are playing a double-game and did not expect to be exposed.
 

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I think Figo is cuaght in the middle of two men (Sanz and Nunez) who are angling for the next elections of the respective clubs. The only danger out there is for Barca to piss Figo off by insinuating he had intentions to leave. The Spanish press sin't much better than Portugal's or Britain's. All the sports pages do is print half truths and outright lies to sell a few papers.
 

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Figo tell both clubs to go FU{K themselves and come home to the mighty lions.
Figo will be staying at Barce his agent is a Toss and who knows his agent might also be a agent of another player ao that story could be anybody not just Figo.
 

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I admire your persistant hope, but Figo ain't coming home for a long time. I wish he would, because he just doesn't look right wearing anything but green and white. However, he is too big a fish for our rather small pond.
 

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Confident Perez takes 8.5 million dollar gamble on Figo


MADRID, July 12 (Reuters) - Florentino Perez, a candidate for the Real Madrid presidency, is so confident he can honour his pledge to sign Portuguese star Luis Figo he has promised to pay for the season tickets of all club members if the deal collapses at a personal cost of more than eight million dollars.

``Figo will play in Real Madrid next season,'' said Perez, who will find out on Sunday if his challenge to current president Lorenzo Sanz has been successful.

``You can see how sure I am of that by the fact that if he doesn't come, and I am president, I promise to pay all the season tickets for next season's members out of my own pocket.''

If Perez wins the race to become president of the Champions' League winners, but then fails to sign Figo from arch-rivals Barcelona, the pledge to Real members could take a big chunk out of his personal fortune.

Real have about 75,000 season-ticket holders who pay an average of 20,000 pesetas ($114) each.

That means Perez is gambling around 1,500 million pesetas ($8.55 million) on the word of Figo's agent, Jose Veiga, who, according to newspaper reports in Spain, has agreed the player will move.

Figo's transfer has emerged as the main bone of contention in the battle for the presidency at Real.

Perez believes he has a deal to pay the buy-out clause in Figo's contract - 57.1 million dollars - and bring him to the Bernabeu Stadium in what would be a sensational transfer between the two clubs.

The rest of Spain remains sceptical about the deal, which Figo has flatly denied.


Figo's agent Jose Veiga is one sly SOB...using Perez to boost Figo's net worth! It's ashame he can't do anything for his other client Simao. However this can backfire, make Figo the most hated man in all of Spain.

Another episode of "As Figo Turns...."
 

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Each time Figo goes to another team, it's a mess. The same happened when he went out of Portugal. He had signed I don't know how many pre-contracts with Real or some other Italian club and went to Barça after all. And Sporting fans weren't happy either, nearly beating him in the press conference when he announced his departure.

It seems something similar is going to happen now. But if Barça fans are mad at him and he stays there, it will be hell for him, and very dificult to play well. He will probably be playing in Spain, because of that foreign clubs clause.

But one of the candidates for Barça already said that if he is elected, Figo won't stay in Barcelona. If that happened, he said, he would personaly pay all each associate the monthly charge.
 

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Guys i think L.Figo will go to R.Madrid if tat guy becomes president because he guarantied that if he became president and if L.Figo didnt go to R.Madrid then he would pay all the members tickets to watch every single match.
 

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Another interview with Figo, and he repeated he won't change his club. He wants to stay at Barcelona, but at which price? Is it with the wage he asked Nuñez?
 
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