rm_ptgcat 61M
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8/9/2006 2:02 pm

The departures of Nuñez and Van Gaal were nothing compared to that of Luís Figo. As well as club captain, Figo had become a cult hero and was considered by Catalans to be one of their own. It is widely believed that his dislike of the new president, Joan Gaspart, triggered his departure for arch-rivals Real Madrid. The Barça fans were distraught by Figo’s decision to join Real and during subsequent visits to the Camp Nou, Figo was given an extremely hostile reception, including one occasion when a pig's head was thrown at him from the crowd. The next three years saw the club in decline and managers came and went, including a short second spell by Louis van Gaal. Expensive players like Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars were regularly accused of not pulling their weight. Gaspart did not inspire confidence off the field either and in 2003 he and Van Gaal resigned.

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