Saudi's Al Ittihad FC signs Luis Figo for 18-months

Former World Player of the Year Luis Figo has signed an 18-month contract with Al Ittihad for an undisclosed sum, the Saudi Arabian club announced. "I can confirm that Luis Figo of Inter Milan has signed an official contract with Ittihad starting on July 1, 2007," Ittihad director-general Rafat Turki told Reuters. "I have no right to release the value but we concluded a deal acceptable to both sides that is the highest, not just in the Middle East, but in Asia for a player that is worth the value."

Inter coach Roberto Mancini, who was in Bahrain with his team for a training camp and a friendly against Bahrain's national team, told the Gulf Daily News that Figo would stay at least until his contract expired at the end of the year. But Turki said Ittihad had clinched the deal in Bahrain on Thursday night. Talks had been delayed because Figo had demanded he be paid 70 percent of the agreed sum in his first six months at Ittihad, during which time he would be allowed to end the contract for any reason. "The negotiations took almost 2-1/2 months. To get a player of such skill and prestige takes time," Turki said.