Portuguese football legend Luís Figo is in Dubai today to kickstart the XYoga Dubai Festival Image Credit: Clint Egbert

  • Luís Figo: Until you start yoga, you don’t know what true stretching is.
  • After retiring from professional football, the former Barcelona captain has apparently taken up yoga as a mode of relaxation.

Dubai: Portuguese football legend Luís Figo is in Dubai today and it has nothing to do with football! He is here to do yoga.

Figo joined Indian yogi Deepika Mehta and actress Nargis Fakhri to lead 2,500 yoga enthusiasts at Kite Beach at 8 am today, to kick off the third edition of XYoga Dubai Festival.

After retiring from professional football, the former Barcelona captain has apparently taken up yoga as a mode of relaxation. He has posted about it previously on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

In an interview after the yoga session, he told Gulf News: “Yoga teaches and helps you to stretch. It helps you find your balance and to concentrate.”

He feels yoga is very different from the regular workout routines followed by footballers. He added: “Until you start yoga, you don’t know what true stretching is. We used to stretch in one way, sometimes you don’t give much importance to stretching during or after workouts... it is important for the muscles.”

(From left) Luis Figo, Deepika Mehta and Nargis Fakhri at the Xyoga Festival taking place at Kite Beach, Dubai on 1st February, 2019. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News Image Credit: Clint Egbert

Favourite career moment

Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his generation, Luís Figo has formerly played for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

In his 20 years on the pitch his favourite personal career moment was when he won the Ballon d’Or in 2000.

Figo the coach?

So will we see Figo as a football coach? “Not really soon,” laughed Figo without denying the possibility.

Figo poses for selfies with fans at Dubai's Kite Beach. Image Credit: Evangeline Elsa

Promoting football in Pakistan

Last month Figo was seen joining Brazilian star Kaka in Pakistan for a day-long visit as part of the Wold Soccer Stars tour, aimed at grooming nascent talent through exhibition matches and coaching clinics.

According to a January AFP report: “Pakistan boasted a top 10 place in Asian football until the early 1970s, but a lack of government support and poor infrastructure have seen them sink to 199 in the FIFA rankings. The country was banned in 1995 and again in 2017 over violating FIFA’s rule that all federations must be free of any government and judicial interference in their respective countries. The most recent ban was lifted in 2018.

The AFP report also states that: “A 2017 visit by eight international stars led by Brazilian legend Ronaldhino proved the game is gaining popularity, with younger generations adoring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luca Modric.”

Luis Figo added: “We’ll return to Pakistan in April to play two games in two different cities.”