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Figo's time at the top is over

india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 22:03 IST

Luis Figo is going to Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad because his time as a top-level soccer player is over - not because of money.

"I've earned enough that I don't need another contract," Figo said in an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday. "I was looking for a soft solution. I didn't want to retire immediately. This way I can play another five or six months of light soccer."

Last week, Figo signed a one-year contract with Al Ittihad. He will finish this season with Inter Milan and move to Saudi Arabia in July.

Details haven't been released, but Al Ittihad owner Mansour al-Balwi said it was "one of the biggest deals ever seen in the Middle East."

Figo said he was also interested in finishing his career in the United States, but the Al Ittihad deal was better because it allows him to retire in December.

"The time comes when you feel you want to leave top-level soccer," Figo said, adding that he was unhappy with his playing time at Inter. "I need to feel important. That's how I am, and I can't change at 34 years of age."

Figo has been with Inter since 2005. He has also played for Sporting Lisbon, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

A former captain of Portugal's national team, Figo retired from international play after making his 127th international appearance in the World Cup's third-place playoff against Germany in July. Al Ittihad won the Asian Champions League in 2004 and '05, and was knocked out in the quarterfinals last year.

Figo said he would like to end his high-level career by winning the European Champions League with Inter.