DAVID Beckham has backed former team-mate Luis Figo’s bid to become the next FIFA president.
The 42-year-old former Portugal international and world footballer of the year announced last month that he would stand against current president of Sepp Blatter.
As well as going up against Blatter in May’s election, Figo, the only former player standing, also faces competition from Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Dutch FA president Michael van Praag for the role.
Former England captain Beckham was pleased to hear his old Real Madrid team-mate was standing for the position saying world football’s governing body needed candidates “passionate about the game”.
Beckham said: “I welcome the candidacy of my friend Luis for FIFA President. Any successful organisation needs to have good people who are passionate about the game and want to do the best for fans.
“FIFA will only benefit from having a wide range of strong candidates present their visions for the game and it’s good to see people volunteer. I wish Luis and the other candidates well.”
Figo, who has served on the UEFA Football Committee from 2011 to 2015, issued a statement on January 28 saying he would run a campaign for change, focusing on ‘’better governance, more transparency, increased solidarity and the protection of true football values’’.
From the working class suburbs of Lisbon, Figo went on to make 577 appearances for Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale.
He also captained Portugal at the 2006 FIFA World Cup during an international career in which he won 127 caps – making him Portugal’s most capped player.
Last month Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho backed Figo’s decision to stand for FIFA, saying in a statement: ‘’Luis Figo’s candidacy is a great step forward for football. His career over many years grants a better future for FIFA.
‘’I believe in his character and determination, as well as his passion for the game. He will be a president focused on football and its general improvement, acting closely with all federations.’’