Money in football is getting more and more ludicrous each year. Spending millions on a teenage footballer is something only maniacs would do, you would think. But no, this is becoming the norm in the beautiful game. From a lad from Wales, to the most hated man in Italy, we’ll take you through the seven highest paid transfers ever, before Paul Pogba completes his long-awaited move to Manchester United for a fee thought to break the £100 million barrier.
7. Kevin de Bruyne, Wolfsburg to Manchester City, £55 million
Before Pogba’s move finalises, the record for the biggest transfer to a British football club is this man, to Manchester City. De Bruyne signed last summer and since his move, he has become a bit of a revelation in the Premier League. This is a man who couldn’t get into the first team picture at Chelsea just a few years ago, but after a stint in Germany, he has really made an impression at City, as they secured Champions League football in a mixed season for Pellegrini’s men.
Perhaps his most notable moment for City was scoring the winner against PSG to advance to the semi final of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. It was a stunning effort too, curling an effort past Trapp in the PSG goal from the edge of the area.
6. James Rodriguez, AS Monaco to Real Madrid, £63 million
Some spectacular displays during the World Cup in 2014 landed this Colombian playmaker a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid a couple of seasons ago. And after flourishing in his debut season, scoring 13 goals and assisting 13 too, talk of a future Ballon D’or winner echoed around the football community.
However, times have changed in that short time. Now, Rodriguez has come out to defend himself against critics, insisting that he is determined to stay and fight for his place at Madrid after falling down the pecking order. Head Coach Zinedine Zidane favours a 4-3-3 formation these days, one that doesn’t really suit the midfielder, with Casemiro holding behind Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Yet remarkably, he is being linked with another move, possibly to the Premier League, for a bigger price than Madrid paid for him a few years back. Madrid have already announced that they have recieved a bid of £71 million from an unnamed club, staggering considering he only made 26 league appearances last season.
Nevertheless, lets take a look at THAT goal from the World Cup two summers ago!
Luis Suarez, Barcelona to Liverpool, £65 million
A man who needs no introduction. Luis Suarez, the man who scored hat-trick after hat-trick against Norwich, the man who won the PFA’s Player of the Year Award, and the man who knocked England out of the World Cup in 2014. This striker is arguably the world’s best, and it seems he has never bitten more than he can chew. Watch out Chiellini and Ivanovic!
In July 2014, the Uruguayan forward moved to Barcelona from Liverpool for a hefty sum, in fact one of the most expensive in history, after guiding Liverpool to 2nd in the Premier League and scoring 69 goals in his 110 appearances for the Reds. Few would have predicted what happened next. Whilst many in the football community were not convinced by the move, claiming he would be a flop at Barca, Suarez flourished. Just last season, the striker scored 40 league goals, taking his tally up to 56 in 62 appearances for the Catalan giants. Surely the South American forward, who has shaped the famous MSN partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar, has to be considered the greatest player in the world, behind Messi and Ronaldo of course!
.@FCBarcelona Messi, Suarez and Neymar could well prove to be the most prolific, thrilling, unstoppable front 3 of all time.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 5, 2015
Let us look back at that incredible season when Suarez lit up the Premier League, as Liverpool came close to sealing the title in 2014!
4. Neymar, Santos to Barcelona, £71.5 million
Another Barcelona magician, and another man who needs no introduction. Similarly to Luis Suarez, Neymar can too stand toe to toe with Messi and Ronaldo for the Ballon D’or Award. The man who discovered him, Ralmachy, has always said that Neymar will eventually eclipse Messi and Ronaldo, and it only took an injury to the former for questions to be raised. Back in September last year, when Messi was out with injury, Neymar led the Catalan team to eight victories out of 10, including a draw and an unlucky loss to Sevilla.
And another thing, he is only 24. Still a youngster and here we are talking him up as the next best player in the world. Why shouldn’t we? The Brazilian led his nation to the semi finals of the World Cup almost single-handedly, and he has scored 55 times for Barca since his move in 2013. He has also scored 46 times in 70 appearances for Brazil, the fifth highest goalscorer in his nation’s history. An incredible player, and to think he cost around £70 million before his Barca days, it is mind-boggling to think how much he would cost now. Saying that, his release clause is rumoured to be around £153 million.
3. Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli to Juventus, £75 million
After a month of transfer speculation, Higuain finally left Napoli, but it was a little bit of a shock that it was to rivals Juventus, and an even bigger shock how Napoli fans reacted. Scenes of burning shirts, protests and abuse towards him means I for one will fear for his safety come Napoli versus Juventus on Sunday the 2nd April 2017.
His move became the third highest transfer of all time and the highest ever for an Italian team, and the sale of Pogba may have helped. But his price tag comes with guaranteed goals. The Argentinian scored 107 goals for Real Madrid in 190 appearances and continued that trend at Napoli, where he scored 71 goals in 104 appearances, and firmly becoming a fans’ favourite wherever he went.
Expect a firey encounter in Serie A next season, take a look at some of the horrific reactions to his transfer.
— SBS – The World Game (@TheWorldGame) July 28, 2016
— John Ludden (@Johnludds) July 24, 2016
Higuain on fire. pic.twitter.com/2PEp3mXUxN
— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) July 24, 2016
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United to Real Madrid, £80 million
Ahead of the 2009/10 season, Real Madrid secured Ronaldo for a then world record transfer fee of £80 million, with the Portuguese forward signing a contract worth 11 million euros and contained a buy-out clause of 1 billion euros. Over 80,000 people attended his presentation, more than Diego Maradona did at Napoli all those years ago. A lot was paid to bring the Ballo D’or winning player to the Bernabeu, but Ronaldo has somewhat paid Madrid back by scoring more times than he has appeared for the club. A whopping 260 goals, in just 236 games. He is a record breaker too. The all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League, Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer, the most European championships tournaments he has played at and recently, equalling Michel Platini’s record for the most goals scored in the Euros.
This is a man who, we think, cannot be stopped. Messi is the only man who can challenge Ronaldo, and he has done so well at challenging him, beating him to La Liga and the Ballon D’or on many occasions. But now, Ronaldo has the best chance he has had to put his argument firmly forward. Whilst Portugal crept into the final and beat the hosts France in the final of the Euros, mostly unaided by Ronaldo’s pure brilliance, Messi’s career on the international stage spiralled. It has ended in heartbreak, despite getting into the final of the Copa America, and tears, leading to him retiring from international football. Could that be a sign of things to come next season. Whatever happens, we will get to sit back, relax and admire the ability of Ronaldo for at least another few seasons.
1. Gareth Bale, Tottenham to Real Madrid, £85 million
One record Ronaldo has lost is the most expensive transfer to date. That was won by his Real Madrid compatriot Gareth Bale, for £85 million in 2013. And whilst Ronaldo enjoys most of the limelight at Madrid, Bale deserves at least some of the credit. The Welsh forward has scored 47 times in 81 appearances for the club, a decent run considering his slow start in Spanish football where he was plagued by niggling injuries and was widely criticised by sections of the Bernabeu supporters.
But now he is an integral player to Madrid and to Wales. Very few optimists would have predicted firstly Wales qualifying for the Euros, never mind reaching the semi-finals of the competition, losing out to Ronaldo’s Portugal. And the former Spurs star is set to have his biggest season to date after his exploits in France this summer.
That Bale free kick was a giant middle finger to physics
— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) June 11, 2016
But it hasn’t been an easy road for the Welshman. He was branded a curse when he joined Tottenham from Southampton in 2007, back when he was a young left-back, due to the fact that whenever he played, Tottenham lost. The Premier League side failed to register a win in the first 24 appearances for the club, some labelling him a jinx and wondering why Harry Redknapp was selecting him in the first place. But years later, he is now being mentioned in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo.
The player, for now, remains the most expensive player in the world, as Pogba’s return to Manchester United continues to be delayed, and what better way to celebrate than watching through those superb strikes in the Premier League as Tottenham pressed for the Champions League.