Top five: Most expensive players of all time

Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane & Zlatan Ibrahimovic were involved in football's most expensive transfers

George Muscat
Published 01/05/2013 15:21 by George Muscat, read by 25,964 people.

When Nottingham Forest signed Trevor Francis for a record £1m, an era began where football clubs started to spend enormous sums on recruiting new players.

Since then the record fee has increased by over 8,000%, with the current record standing at a cool £82.5m.

Now let’s take a look at the largest transfer fees of all time, with statistics provided by Transfermarkt.

5. Luis Figo | Barcelona to Real Madrid | Fee: £53m

One of the most controversial transfers ever, the Portuguese’s arrival signalled the beginning of the “Galacticos” era in Real Madrid’s history under president Florentino Perez.

After being such a fan favourite at Barcelona, the Catalonian club’s supporters felt betrayed and thereafter despised Figo to the extent that a pig’s head was thrown at him whilst he was taking a corner at the Camp Nou.

4. Kaka | AC Milan to Real Madrid | Fee: £57m

It is fair to say that the Brazilian playmaker is a shadow of his former self - but this was undeniably a very unsuccessful transfer. Now a backup or squad rotation player, Kaka is linked with a move back to AC Milan almost every summer, but nothing of the sort has materialised. For the moment his unhappy stay in Spain’s capital must continue.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | Inter Milan to Barcelona | Fee: £61m (€46m + Samuel Eto’o)

The charismatic Swede has come good recently after he flattered to deceive in a Barcelona shirt. Although his record of 16 league goals in his only season is not bad, there is no way that it warranted such a huge fee in addition to one of the best strikers of recent times.

After moving to PSG via a return to Milan - this time with AC Milan - Ibra has enjoyed better times this term with the French champions-elect, netting 27 league goals already.

2. Zinedine Zidane | Juventus to Real Madrid | Fee: £64.5m

Zizou joined Real Madrid in 2001, and a year later he scored the all-important goal in the 2002 Champions League final: a sumptuous volley with his weaker foot which epitomised him as a player.

Even though the Frenchman’s career ended in ignoble circumstances, his glorious playing style and ability to glide past defender seamlessly, coupled with his unbelievable technical capacity, means that he is still one of my favourite players of all time.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo | Manchester United to Real Madrid | Fee: £82.5m

If such a ridiculous amount of money being spent on a footballer can ever be justified, surely this is the transfer which does just that.

Ronaldo at the time ended long-term speculation regarding a move away from Old Trafford, by sealing the deal in 2009. However, he has never denied his affinity for United, and appeared to be moved having eliminated the “Red Devils” from the Champions League earlier this year.

Scoring at over a goal a game during his Real Madrid career Ronaldo has made a case for being the best player in the world, but that is another debate to be had.

Which of these fees are justified? Have your say below.


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