Luis Figo: Exclusive interview with CNN

    Exclusive: Figo to run for FIFA presidency
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    Story highlights

    • Luis Figo believes FIFA President Sepp Blatter is not "untouchable"
    • Figo tells CNN he has had enough of all the "scandal" at FIFA
    • He is not being paid to stand and says "football deserves much better than this"

    In an exclusive interview with CNN World Sport's Alex Thomas, Luis Figo declares his intention to run for the presidency of world football's governing body FIFA.

    (CNN)Alex Thomas:

    "Thanks for inviting us from CNN to Madrid. What have you got to tell us?"
      Luis Figo:
      "Well, today is important because I will present my candidacy for the president of FIFA."
      AT:
      "Big, big announcement, what made you decide to want to try to become the next FIFA president?"
      LF:
      "The important thing is the love of football. I care about football so what I am seeing regarding the image of FIFA, not only now but in the past years, I don't like it.
      "I've been talking with so many people. Important people in football, football players, managers, presidents of federation, all these things they have to be done.
      "Last year was a World Cup year and I was in Brazil and I saw the reaction of the fans regarding the image of FIFA. I think something had to be changed. A change in leadership, change in governance, in transparency and in solidarity, so I think it is the moment for that."
      AT:
      "You say you don't like what people have been saying to you about FIFA's image. What have they been telling you?"
      LF:
      "Well all the people have the idea that a world organization like FIFA, an organization that has the power to, and the image of football for the world must be different.
      "If you search right now FIFA, you know, on the internet, or communications... you see the first words that comes out are scandal -- not positive words regarding the name of FIFA. So instead we have to change first and try to improve the nature of FIFA in the world because football deserves much better than this."
      AT:
      "To get to the election you need to be nominated by five national associations and you need to show that you've worked in football for two of the last five years. Have you got those criteria?"
      LF:
      "Well I know well the criteria for the candidate of the presidency of FIFA. In the past years I have been working in several roles in Inter Milan, in Portuguese national team, in UEFA, and I have the five letters of support from the different kind of national teams so I can say I am real candidate. After today I'm looking forward to opening debate and to run for the presidency, and try to have the support of federations and have the chance to be president."
      AT:
      "Are you able to tell us which five associations have backed you? One is probably obvious."
      LF:
      "Well I think in the right moment this is going to be public. I'm going to preserve that confidentiality right now."
      AT:
      "Tell us more about your work since retiring as a player, an amazing 20-year career. Since 2009 what has your work in football involved?"
      LF:
      "Since I retired I started to work with Inter Milan for international relations. I was in that position for four years, and after the regulation, the changing of the new president in the club, so I left and began working for the Portuguese national team, and UEFA and commenting on football, so I'm pretty happy with what I made since I retired.
      "But I care about football and I care about what is going on right now, and FIFA has made me do this step so I'm trying to do some positive steps."
      AT:
      "Being FIFA president is probably more complicated than it looks. Are you ready to learn all the technical rules and regulations that you need to?"
      LF:
      "Well I know that. I think if you give this step you have to be prepared. Of course, I've done my homework, but I have a lot of things that I have to learn and to improve.
      "Of course I have my ideas about football, what is good for playing and for FIFA right now. But I think my experience of my career, my own life, is a positive thing that allows me to understand how is the game, and of course I need to know from the federations --what they expect and what they want for the future of football."
      AT:
      "So you're announcing today that you're in the running to be FIFA president, but how long have you been thinking about it? Was there one moment that made you think I have to run?"
      LF:
      "Well I've been thinking regarding this possibility a few months, been talking of course with my family, with the people who are close to me, a lot of agents in football, players, managers, a lot of people.
      "There was a moment, after it became public that FIFA ordered to investigate by doing some report about what was happening in bids of Russia and Qatar. After that moment and after that report was not published, I think that was the moment of change and the moment that I saw something needed to be done."
      AT:
      "What made you so annoyed about that moment? When Michael Garcia had to resign because he thought not enough had been done."
      LF:
      "Well because if you are transparent and if you ask for some investigation, for some report, if you've got nothing to hide, why don't you make public that report? I think that if you have nothing to hide about that, if you're very clear, you have to do it."
      AT:
      "So if you were FIFA president would you reopen that investigation and make that report public?"
      LF:
      "Well if it was the easy thing to do, if all the people were doubting about what's happening, if it comes from FIFA to order that report... after that, if you don't publish I think it's not the right decision."
      AT:
      "And if you were FIFA president, on your first day in the job what's the number one priority?"
      LF:
      "My first priority is know from the federations what they need, but I think one important thing that I have made is to increase the solidarity payments to the federations, because right now FIFA has so many financial reserves that belong to the federations. And with that kind of solidarity payments I think federations can have the chance to improve all the programs at the grassroots."
      AT:
      "You're not the first person to announce they want to stand. Others have been accused of doing it as publicity stunts. How can you reassure people that you're in this for the right reasons?"
      LF:
      "Well I respect all the other candidates. I think I don't need to be a candidate of FIFA to get ahead. I had a fantastic career and I am very proud of playing at the highest level for so many years that I don't need to be known to this kind of campaign or this kind of publicity, to be running for president."
      AT:
      "Are you getting paid?"
      LF:
      "No I'm not getting paid, fortunately I have a situation that allows me to pay for my candidacy... I am lucky that I can pay my travels and support those expenses."
      AT:
      "You married a Swedish model, you have three lovely daughters, you were world footballer of the year, Ballon D'or winner, won league titles, in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy when you were at Inter Milan, you won the Champions League, you reached the final of Euro 2004, why put yourself through this?"
      LF:
      "Because I love football, I care about football. I think that life is a challenge and if you don't take the step to improve obviously that is not correct. I think if you don't have challenges every day... For me, it's about giving back to football so many things that football gives to me through my life.
      "I think that is most important. I think we have to care about the future of football. Try to restore the leadership, try to restore the governance, how the organization is right now, being transparent. And we saw that with the federations, I think this is the point that make me to give this step."
      AT:
      "Is Sepp Blatter beatable?"
      LF:
      "Well I think no one is untouchable in this life and if you think like that you're wrong. Of course this is a person that is running the organization for so long, since 1998 and for a lot of people he may be the favorite but I have to hope.
      "I can say that for me it's a fantastic challenge to try to convince people to follow me and to support me.
      "I have so many examples in football that play against the strongest team, can play against the weakest team, and you never know who is going to win. Sometimes you think that you're going to lose and you win, and sometimes you think we're going to win and you lose. That is the beauty of sport. That is the beauty of this challenge."
      AT:
      "This is harder than being a goal down, with five minutes to go, isn't it?"
      LF:
      "Well it's not easy, you have to believe. The impossible is nothing in this life."