serie a news

Figo ready to hang up boots after Atalanta match

May 30, 2009

Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo will bring his brilliant career to a close in the Serie A champions' season-ending home game against Atalanta on Sunday.

"May 31, 2009 will be my last Sunday as a footballer," the Portuguese former World Player of the Year said in a statement on the club website.

The 36-year-old has won four league titles since joining Inter from Real Madrid in 2005, although he has not been a regular starter in the last two seasons, in part because of injuries.

There had been reports that Figo might accept one last lucrative deal to play in the Far East but he has instead opted to wind things up this weekend at the San Siro.

"It pleases me that my last Sunday as a footballer will be a Sunday of festival for the fourth consecutive Serie A title for me and all of us at Inter," the former Portugal captain said.

He started his career with Sporting, winning the Portuguese Cup in 1995, before his remarkable attacking talents prompted Barcelona to snap him up later that year.

He won two league titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup with the Catalan club before his controversial move to bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2000 made him the first of the big-money 'Galacticos' signings.

He helped the Madrid giants win two league titles and the 2002 Champions League.

The player thanked Inter and his "friends" from Sporting, Barcelona, Real and the Portugal team, for which he made 127 appearances and scored 32 goals between 1991 and 2006.

He also apologised if his recent form had not been up to scratch.

"Winning has always been the only real objective of my career," he said. "The only way to win I have known is sacrifice and work, which they taught me when I was a lad at Sporting.

"That's why today I also want to say sorry if in some matches or in some periods I haven't managed to give my all because of injuries or other reasons. I was the first person to be displeased."

Figo's individual honours include the 2000 Ballon d'Or as European Footballer of the Year and 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.