Figo joins Real Madrid in record £37m deal

Portuguese winger Luis Figo has joined Real Madrid from arch-rivals Barcelona to become history's most expensive transfer.

Portuguese winger Luis Figo has joined Real Madrid from arch-rivals Barcelona to become history's most expensive transfer.

Figo, 27 will play for Madrid starting with the upcoming season. Figo's joining Real Madrid has been rumoured for days in the Spanish press following an agreement he reportedly signed early this month with Perez as the latter campaigned to become Real Madrid's president. Perez ultimately won, unseating Lorenzo Sanz. Figo arrived in Madrid on a private jet for final meetings with Madrid executives and to undergo the compulsory medical examination.

He had tried to evade throngs of aggressive reporters who had hunted the star in recent days as he had a holiday on an exclusive beach with his wife and daughter on the Italian island of Sardinia. The deal eclipses the price tag on Argentine striker Hernan Crespo, paid to AC Parma by Lazio. The signing of Figo, one of the stars of the recent Euro 2000 tournament, received a vigorous thumbs down from press in his home country.

"Figo represented the little that was left of purity and romanticism in soccer," said daily Diario de Noticias, calling the winger the last great casualty of soccer's moneygrabbing. "Luis Figo must have learned from other players and agents that the world he inhabits permits him to seek profit, disdaining morality and niceties," commented sports daily A Bola.

Barcelona's loss of Figo, just after club elections, comes on the heels of another Madrid deal. The club said Friday night it had agreed to transfer French striker Nicolas Anelka to Paris-Saint German for £22m. The deal was reached between Real Madrid's new president Florentino Perez and his PSG counterpart Laurent Perpere and will be signed next week.

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