On the 20th anniversary of Luis Figo's first visit to the Camp Nou as a Real Madrid player, former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has spoken about how that night played out.
Gaspart was in charge at the Camp Nou when Figo left for Real Madrid in a shock transfer and he believes that the Blaugrana fans still haven't forgiven the Portuguese winger. "I would say that Barcelona members are smarter than we think," Gaspart told RAC1.
"Great players have left Barcelona in the past and nothing has happened. The way he left Barcelona was what people didn't accept. That's why there was such a reaction. "After 20 years, that night is still remembered. Figo left Barcelona as a traitor. He did not appreciate how much the fans loved him. He made the wrong decision and the fans will never forgive him."
Gaspart went on to discuss how Figo's exit took place in greater detail, explaining how he ended up in Madrid. "Figo called me and said 'Joan, I have two tickets, one is Lisbon-Madrid and the other is Lisbon-Barcelona and it's up to you which I take'," Gaspart recalled.
"Florentino Perez made a move for which he apologized for. He recognised that his proposal was not fair. He only thought about winning the elections. I told Luis that we would fix it, but he said that the only way he would come to Barcelona is 'to go with a check from La Caixa of 500 million pesetas' in case his representatives lost the issue." The former president believes that Perez was just as much to blame for the controversial transfer as the Portuguese star himself: "I consider him as much or guiltier than Figo for the operation," Gaspart said. "He was very young. It was illegal."
Finally, Gaspart explained how he wishes to meet up with Figo in person to discuss the incident. "I have felt, as a Barcelona fan, betrayed," he said. "I have asked to meet him face to face to talk about the issue, but I have had no response."