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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adios, Luis Figo... FIFA Player of the Year 2001

I have only written about sports twice here. The reason is obvious to those who know me well (I hate all professional sports equally). The only exception I have made is for Luis Figo. When Luis Figo retired from international competition (Portugal's national team) I wrote an entry about how sad it was to see this knight of the soccer field fade away into retirement. Needless to say, my expectations of his retirement from professional competition had to wait an enjoyable stretch of four years that saw Figo leave Real Madrid for Inter Milan. Of course it was sad to see him leave Madrid, but the fact that he won 4 consecutive Italian league championships rather made up for it quite nicely. The Real Madrid Luis Figo left was an organization that had more interest in selling shirts and other merchandise than playing soccer; it all became a matter of globalization and merchandising for Real Madrid. All of this led, of course, to many other stars leaving Madrid eventually. For those of you who may only think of David Beckham when you hear the word "soccer" (or futbol), let me say here that in 2001 FIFA selected Figo as the Player of the Year, Beckham coming in a distant third (Raul Gonzales was second). David Beckham will never reach the levels of playing commitment Figo had for years before Beckham became a start. Let's face it, the numbers do not lie: Luis Figo was a better player in his prime (and even now). If Beckham wasn't so busy modeling, perhaps he could some day become FIFA Player of the Year.

At any rate, this is not about the British star, this entry is a tribute to the best soccer player of our generation! Luis Figo... the best, most courageous, determined, trust-worthy right fielder the game ever saw! Adios, Senor Figo... thanks for what are now the sweetest memories of your game!

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