Inter midfielder Luis Figo has described his former club Real Madrid as a “circus”, and criticised the way it was run by former president Florentino Perez.

Figo moved to Italy last August, six months before Perez resigned at Real.

“If the most important thing for your project is to put on a circus, then you have less chance of winning things,” Figo told Marca.

Figo joined Real in 2000 in one of the most controversial transfers in the history of Spanish football when newly elected president Perez paid a then world-record £37m to buy him out of his contract with Barcelona.

The midfielder helped them to the league title in his first season at the club and was a member of their 2002 European Cup winning side as well as a key figure in the team that won the 2003 Spanish championship.

“Everything started to go wrong at Real after those first three years when commercial decisions took precedence over sporting ones,” Figo said.

“After the third year they signed players for the sake of signing them. They didn’t sign them for sporting reasons, they had other priorities.

“When things are like this sooner or later you pay for it.”

Figo also criticised the club’s decision to undertake increasingly arduous world tours to promote the Real Madrid brand.

“It is great to go everywhere and be received like kings but this is not reality,” Figo added

“Ask the fans whether they think is more important to see their side winning every Sunday and collecting titles, or to see their side doing tours for 15 or 20 days as if they were the Globetrotters.

“I was surprised by the timing of Perez’s decision to leave because I don’t think it was the right moment. When things go wrong you should stand up and be counted.”

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