Figo: Pep has what it takes

Inter Milan's midfielder Luis Figo, who played for Barcelona for five seasons, says the Spanish club's newly appointed coach, former team captain Pep Guardiola, has what it takes to manage the team.

"I think Pep is intelligent enough to make decisions, to make choices, to do a good job," the 35-year-old Portuguese international told radioCadena Ser.

"I know him well and I know how much he is passionate about football, so I am not surprised that he has become Barcelona's coach," he added.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta announced Thursday that Guardiola, who manages the club's reserves, would replace Frank Rijkaard as coach at the end of the season, its second straight season without a major trophy.

The 37-year-old won six league titles in 11 seasons as a midfielder with Barcelona but has never held a senior coaching position.

Barcelona were eliminated in the UEFA Champions League semi-final by Manchester United and trail Real Madrid in the Spanish league by 17 points in third place with two games remaining after losing 4-1 to the new champions on Wednesday.

Figo joined Real Madrid in 2000 after five seasons with Barcelona. He signed with current club Inter Milan in 2005.