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|January 28, 2001||
Real Madrid president says Figo born to play for club
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has declared that former Barcelona player Luis Figo was born to play for the reigning European champions.
Perez, elected Real president last July, also heaped praise on Steve McManaman and coach Vicente del Bosque in an interview with Spanish television channel Canal Plus.
"To me it seems like Figo has always played at Real Madrid. I think that the player was born with one purpose and that was to play at Real Madrid," he said.
Figo, who was recently presented with the European Player of the Year award, moved to Real for a world record $56.1 million last July after five seasons as an idol at the Catalan club.
Perez said that the Portuguese international possessed all the virtues required to play for Real Madrid, eight times European Cup winners.
"Figo has the leadership, companionship, fighting spirit and the elegance of a true Real Madrid player."
The Real president also had words of praise for England midfielder McManaman, who fought his way into the side despite the fact that he was advised by coach Vicente Del Bosque to look for another club at the beginning of the season.
"McManaman is in now in the team because his behaviour has been in accordance with the true values of the club."
Perez added that Del Bosque was the ideal coach for Real Madrid.
"From my point of view Del Bosque is the best trainer for Real Madrid because he has fitted in perfectly with the team and with the club's philosophy," Perez said.
The Real Madrid made it clear that although the team were favourites to win the Spanish league, the season was far from over.
"I am worried about overconfidence, because it is our worst enemy. I don't like hearing that we have already almost won the league," he said.
Real topped the table with a four-point cushion over last year's champions Deportivo Coruna ahead of Sunday's game against fourth-placed Valencia.
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