Football fans can be a strange bunch. They are fiercely loyal, passionate about their club and hero-worship their players. Get on the wrong side of them though and you’ll soon know about it!
Social media has given angry fans the platform to vent their frustrations after another poor performance from their team. If a player plays badly then some vile abuse is sent out for all the world to see.
A bad performance can quickly be forgotten if a player then plays better in the next game. He will not be forgiven though if he moves to one of his club’s biggest rivals. This week’s ‘Iconic Moment’ sees the impact that one particular transfer had.
Portuguese international Luis Figo was one of the club’s star players in the late 90’s. The side was packed with star names, but Figo was a different class. He had won five consecutive Portuguese Player of the Year and was on the way to becoming the winner of the Ballon D’or in 2000.
In July 2000, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made an audacious attempt to sign Figo and bring him to Madrid. He put in a bid for just over £50 million to Real’s biggest rivals and the bid was accepted. The news of the move shocked the football world and seeing Figo being paraded around with a white Real Madrid shirt must have really hurt the Barcelona fans.
Three months later, Figo made his first return to the Nou Camp as a Real Madrid player. In an already hostile atmosphere that is usually created for an El Classico match, the volume was ramped higher whenever the Real number 7 touched the ball.
Figo was Real’s regular corner taker and didn’t shy away from taking them in this match. Many players would have avoided the walk over to the corner flag, especially as the seats around the corners of the pitch at the Nou Camp are so close to the pitch.
Various missiles were thrown by Barca fans at the Portuguese, but he ignored it as best he could and just got on with taking the set-piece. A cameraman caught a photo of Figo taking a corner with a pig’s head just feet away from him! It had been thrown at him by an angry Barcelona fan!
The photo featured in many newspapers and really showed the impact of how a player moving to a bitter rival can have on fans.