Archive for January 1st, 2008

Of Former Portuguese Glories: Figo Headed to MLS, Rui Costa to the Hall of Fame

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Luìs Figo & Manuel Rui Costa during a practice session with Portugal

The Luís Figo-to-MLS rumours have been increasing these past few months. The 2001 Ballon d’Or winner had been saying in the Italian press that “before settling down in Madrid for good” [as a retired player] he would have liked to live an American experience, especially for his three daughters’s benefit.

Well, according to Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã, Figo has found a deal with AEG (i.e. Anschutz Entertainment Group), a big sports management and marketing agency whose clients include, among others, the LA Galaxy, Chicago Fire, and Houston Dynamo. In other words if the Correio information is accurate, the soon-to-be-ex Inter player (his contract expires at the end of the 2007-08 season) is headed towards one of these 3 teams.

Figo’s new two-year deal is rumoured to be around €7m-a-year, which wouldn’t rule him out of Los Angeles (the Galaxy could potentially still have one remaining Designated Player (DP) spot available… since each team is allowed one DP spot, but teams can trade their spot to other teams, and a team can have a maximum of 2 DPs… and yeah if anyone reading this is completely lost, that’s normal), but it would make the transfer somewhat morally questionable, since LA would then have 3 players exceeding the salary cap: Figo, David Beckham, and Landon Donovan (who isn’t considered a DP though, see Wiki article).

Meanwhile, another Serie A legend (not that Figo had much time to become a legend at Inter) will reportedly be hanging his football boots at the end of the current season. Ex-Fiorentina and AC Milan playmaker Manuel Rui Costa (now in full force at his former club Benfica) has just released an interview with Portuguese sports newspaper Record, in which he announced his imminent retirement.

I have always said over the years, that when time would come for me to retire I would be doing so wearing the Benfica jersey. I am proud to have succeeded in that goal. I am very happy with my achievements in the world of soccer, and to have demonstrated to have been a good professional“. However, Benfica fans of Rui shouldn’t despair because he’s sticking around: “I still need to feel the smell of the changing rooms, I’d fancy the role of Benfica sports director. No rush though, there’s still 4 months left in the season“.

One last big challenge for Rui perhaps? :)