LISBON: Portugal’s first division coaches have voted Real Madrid star midfielder Luis Figo as the best national footballer playing for a foreign team for a sixth consecutive year.
The 30-year-old, who was plagued by an ankle injury throughout much of 2002, was the top pick of 15 of Portugal’s 18 top flight coaches, according to sports daily Record which carried out the annual survey.
Portuguese international midfielder Rui Costa, who joined AC Milan from Fiorentina for US$35 million in July, was the second most voted player while striker Pedro Pauleta, who plays for France’s Bordeaux, came in third.
Rui Costa, whose debut season with Milan has been hampered by injuries, has occupied the second-place ranking in the yearly survey for the past four years.
It is the second straight year that Pauleta, who was voted the best player in the French first division in the 2001/2002 season by fellow players and coaches, has come in third place.
Among Figo’s supporters was former Spanish national team coach Jose Antonio Camacho, who took over at Portuguese powerhouse Benfica in December. Camacho named Costa as his second pick.