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Figo set to join Al Ittihad in July

5 January 2007 15:56

MANAMA (AFP) - Portugal World Cup star Luis Figo has signed a one-year contract to play for Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad next season, club chairman Mansour al Balwi has told AFP.

"We have signed a deal for one year from July 1, 2007," he said Friday.

No further details of the contract were available, but al Balwi said it was "one of the biggest deals ever in the Middle East."

"Luis Figo has lots of experience and he will be a great asset for the club," al Balwi said.

Al Ittihad have been chasing the 34-year-old Inter Milan midfielder for several weeks and had previously claimed that he had signed a one-year contract worth 4.5 million euros (5.9 million dollars) and would be arriving on January 5.

But the Italian champions dismissed that report and insisted they would hold on to the former World and European Footballer of the Year at least until his current contract runs out at the end of June.

Figo has played little under Inter coach Roberto Mancini having retired from international football after Portugal lost to France in the World Cup semi-finals in July.

He previously played with Sporting Lisbon (1989-1995), Barcelona (1995-2000) and Real Madrid (2000-2005) before joining Inter.

Inter, the current Italian league leaders, are currently in Bahrain and will face the Bahrain national team in a friendly match on Saturday before flying back to Italy.

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