Never a word caused such an earthquake in the world of football. It happened on July 12, 2000: “I want to tell you that if I am president of Real Madrid, Figo will be a Real Madrid player.” Florentino Pérez produced a leap of joy in Real Madrid and injected fear into Barcelona led by Joan Gaspart. On July 16, Pérez won the Real Madrid presidential elections for Lorenzo Sanz. On July 24 of that year, Figo was presented at the Bernabéu. This is the story of a club internal revolution. A year later Zidane would come.
Florentino Pérez told the partners in those July days of twenty years ago: «If I win the elections, Figo will be a Real Madrid footballer. There is a commitment, I am not talking about documents. If I win and it were not true, I will pay the one-year dues of all the partners (in the past year, 3,655,965,000 pesetas, 22 million euros in exchange). José Veiga, representative of the player, opened the door of illusion to the members by meeting with the candidate and saying briefly: “If Florentino wins, we will return on Monday.” Never have so few words said so much. He had discovered that there was truth to the litigation. Joan Gaspart, who was also bidding in the elections, but for Barcelona, began to really worry. That would be quite a coup with ball bullets. Florentino Pérez specified: «I have taken all the steps for Figo to play for Real Madrid next season. I only put one caveat, that the coaching staff agrees. And I am not going to have to pay the dues to the members, I am going to win and it is not necessary to make any calculation ».
Florentino Pérez won in the club’s presidential elections on July 16 of that year 2000. On July 24 he landed in Madrid to sign his contract with the Madrid club.
On July 25 it was presented in the trophy room of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, becoming the most expensive transfer in history to date: 10,270 million (61.9 million euros), which became 11,900 million pesetas with VAT and the plus of the consumer price index, which was 72 million euros in exchange. The new currency would be official in 2001.
Gaspart was elected president of Barcelona and attacked Florentino Pérez very hard in all those days. He invested in the soccer players Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit. Many Barça supporters considered “high treason” that Figo be passed on to the eternal rival. He was following in the footsteps of Michael Laudrup.
After Figo came Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario and Beckham. The Portuguese, who had a piglet thrown at him on his visit to the Camp Nou as an opponent, won a Champions League, two Leagues, two Spanish Super Cups, and a European Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup dressed in white. On an individual scale, he received the highest awards, a Ballon d’Or and the “FIFA World Player”.
He played 244 games with Real Madrid, scored 54 goals and gave 67 in the five years dressed in white, from 2000 to 2005. He left for Inter a year before fulfilling his contract. But how did it come about months before your arrival at Real Madrid in July 2000? We tell you in depth:
Florentino Pérez tracked the market and saw the tricky pre-campaign situation that Gaspart was also experiencing in Barcelona. and launched the torpedo at the Barca ship.
It was a transfer, cost 61.9 million and VAT
Negotiations began with Veiga, representative of the Portuguese. And he got a private signed agreement: if he won the elections, he would come to Real Madrid. And if Figo refused, he would have to pay those 22 million euros at the exchange that cost a whole year of the members’ payments, the promise of payment that Pérez had made to the subscribers if he did not keep his word.
He triumphed in the elections and Veiga told Figo: you have to go to Real Madrid or we pay 22 million euros (in exchange, they spoke in pesetas). The striker was on vacation in Sardinia and flew to Lisbon to meet and decide the big jump. Figo was on a plane to Madrid on July 24, 2000.
The signing of Luis Figo by Real Madrid was carried out as a transfer, although the Barça manager Jaume Parés insisted that a representative of the player gave the money in the League and that is why Barcelona issued the invoice on behalf of the footballer.
The difference between paying a termination clause or paying a transfer is based on VAT. Terminations do not have such a tax because they are compensation and transfers do, because they are transfers between clubs. Real Madrid paid VAT and Barcelona admitted having received it, although the invoice was made in the name of Luis Figo after transfer.
The Madrid entity paid the cost with a bank check, which was deposited at the headquarters of the League by a representative of the player, Vicente Montes, which included the payment of three items: 10,000 million of the termination clause, 300 million as supplement to the CPI (consumer price index) of the last year and another 1,600 for the 16 percent of VAT that had to be settled in every transfer. The bank check, therefore, had a total amount of 11.9 billion. A check that did not mention the name of Figo or any of his companies and that was signed by the representatives of Banco Zaragozano. In these circumstances the player would not have any fiscal problem to solve in the future, and if anything, as Figo himself said, it will be a matter between the clubs.
Figo was transfer and Ronaldo Nazario, clause
The best example to understand this situation is to compare it with Ronaldo’s departure from Barcelona. That was a clause payment and Figo’s was a full transfer. Inter, in July 97, paid the Barça club the 4,000 million of its clause and made a binding consultation with the Ministry of Finance to find out if it should pay VAT, which was also included in the clause. Ronaldo’s advisers considered that they should not pay it as it is compensation and not a transfer. The Treasury replied that, in effect, Inter did not have to pay VAT. It is the same case of Valencia with Baraja last year: he paid Atlético the 2,000 million of the rescission, without VAT, because in neither case was there an agreement between the clubs for the transfer.
The signing of Luis Figo was one of those that marks a before and after in football. The Portuguese traded Barcelona for Real Madrid in a historic operation that also involved the goal for Florentino Pérez’s victory in the elections for the white presidency against Lorenzo Sanz. But it was not only important for those two reasons, but for everything that was behind him and also ahead. The signing was a milestone at that time. In addition, it was an electoral promise of Florentino Pérez made true.
This did not sit well in Barcelona. The Barça fans were angry at the departure of the Portuguese and criticized the ineffectiveness of Gaspart, who would end up resigning later. With that money collected by Figo he brought soccer players who did not have the same level. They spent it on footballers like Overmars and Petit, who did not succeed.
Joan Gaspart, Barça president, warned that he was not going to “forget” what Florentino Pérez did. He resigned after time. Figo won the League with Real Madrid in 2001, the Champions in 2002 and the League again in 2003, in addition to other titles. He left in 2005 because he was no longer the undisputed starter. .