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Ronaldo, Neymar & the most expensive transfers in history

16:50 BST 10/07/2018
Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Juventus for €100 million, so where does the forward rank on the list of the biggest deals of all time?
  • David Beckham Zinedine Zidane

    #101 David Beckham | €37.5m

    Given David Beckham was one of the most marketable sporting stars on the planet, Real Madrid could not believe their luck when Manchester United told them they could have the England captain in 2003 for €37.5m.

    Of course, former Red Devils boss Alex Ferguson wanted rid of Beckham, feeling that the midfielder had become more of a celebrity than a footballer, but it still proved a shrewd move by Los Blancos, who made a fortune in sponsorhip and shirt sales off, as well as winning La Liga in the style icon's final season at the Santiago Bernabeu, in 2006-07.

  • Oxlade-Chamberlain

    #100 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | €38m

    Many Liverpool fans wondered why manager Jurgen Klopp elected to spend €38m on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of the 207-18 season when it was clear that there was a great need to strengthen the Reds' defence.

    However, whereas it was initially thought that the versatile winger would prove little more than a valuable squad player, Oxlade-Chamberlain now looks set to become a key man at Anfield thanks to his impressive performances, both on the wing and in midfield, and the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Andre Silva Portugal

    #99 Andre Silva | €38m

    It is easy to understand why AC Milan felt compelled to sign Andre Silva for €38m as part of their 2017 summer spending spree. The young striker had impressed in the Champions League for Porto, while Cristiano Ronaldo had labelled him the heir to his throne within the Portuguse national team.

    However, while Silva has had no issues scoring in the Europa League, he has thus far struggled horribly in Serie A and there is even talk that Ronaldo now wants Real Madrid to sign his compatriot, so that he can take the No.9 under his wing at the Santiago Bernabeu.

  • Mats Hummels Bayern Munich

    #98 Mats Hummels | €38m

    Having come through the youth-team ranks at Bayern Munich only to fail to force his way into the first team, Mats Hummels departed for Borussia Dortmund in 2009, after a successful loan season at Signal Iduna Park.

    However, the Bavarians rectified their mistake seven years later by returning to their favourite super-market with €38m in the wallet to re-sign the defender, who, in spite of some fitness and form issues, remains one of the game's top centre-halves.

  • Eric Bailly Manchester United

    #97 Eric Bailly | €38m

    Eric Bailly has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top. The defender made his Liga debut with Espanyol in October 2014, joined Villarreal the following January as a replacement for the Arsenal-bound Gabriel Paulista and moved to Manchester United the following year.

    The fee, €38m, may have seemed excessive for a player of such little top-flight experience but Bailly has quickly established himself as the Red Devils' most reliable centre-half and, if he can overcome the fitness problems which have hindered him of late, he has the ability to become a regular at Old Trafford for years to come.

  • Diego Costa Chelsea

    #96 Diego Costa | €38m

    Chelsea's decision to meet the €38m buy-out clause in Diego Costa's Atletico Madrid contract in 2014 was viewed as something of a gamble, given the striker's proclivity for courting controversy during his time at the Vicente Calderon. 

    However, while the Brazil-born Spain international continued to court controversy in England, he also scored freely, playing a pivotal role in two Premier League title triumphs in just three seasons at Stamford Bridge before falling out with coach Antonio Conte and returning to Atleti last summer.

  • Gonzalo Higuain Dries Mertens Napoli

    #95 Gonzalo Higuain | €38m

    Frustrated by having to play second fiddle to Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, Gonzalo Higuain made the bold decision to leave Los Blancos for Napoli in 2013. 

    It proved a hugely rewarding transfer for both the player and the Partenopei, as the Argentine attacker took the Italian game by storm, breaking the Serie A record for goals across a single season in 2015-16 before breaking Neapolitan hearts by moving to Juventus that summer for €90m.

  • Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 2008

    #94 Dimitar Berbatov | €38m

    Alex Ferguson made no attempt to hide his admiration for Dimitar Berbatov and, despite the best efforts of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, the Manchester United boss got his man just before the close of the summer transfer window in 2008.

    Levy, as he so often does, ensured that Spurs secured a sizeable fee (€38m) but even though the enigmatic Bulgarian had his ups and downs during his four-year spell at Old Trafford, there were numerous highlights, particularly during the 2010-11 season, which included a sensational hat-trick against great rivals Liverpool.

  • HD Fernando Torres Liverpool

    #93 Fernando Torres | €38m

    After six years starring for his hometown team Atletico Madrid, Fernando Torres departed for Liverpool in 2007 for €38m, a record fee for the Reds at the time.

    Anfield saw the very best of the striker, who scored freely throughout his time on Merseyside before suffering a dramatic dip in form after joining Chelsea in January 2011 for a British-record £50m.

  • Michael Essien, Chelsea, Arsenal

    #92 Michael Essien | €38m

    After making a name for himself at Bastia, Michael Essien slotted seamlessly into the fine Lyon side that dominated French football at the turn of the millennium. 

    The midfielder's barnstorming performances attracted the attentions of numerous clubs across Europe but, in 2005, he chose to join Chelsea, whom he helped win two Premier League titles, as well as a Champions League, during a nine-year stay at Stamford Bridge, while at same time becoming one of Jose Mourinho's most loyal and trusted lieutenants. 

  • Antonio Rudiger Chelsea Swansea City

    #91 Antonio Rudiger | €39m

    Antonio Conte had originally wanted to sign Antonio Rudiger shortly after taking charge at Stamford Bridge but a serious knee injury put paid to the defender's hopes of a transfer from Roma.

    However, the Germany international made a rapid return from injury and secured his move to London the following summer, with the Blues paying €39m for the versatile Rudiger, who has adapted well to the Premier League.

  • Michy Batshuayi Chelsea

    #90 Michy Batshuayi | €39m

    Given Michy Batshuayi had joined Chelsea from Marseille, there were inevitable comparisons with Blues legend Didier Drogba. Unfortunately, the Belgium international's Stamford Bridge career didn't follow the same upward curve. 

    Indeed, while Batshuayi earned himself a place in the hearts of Chelsea fans forever with his title-clinching goal at West Brom last season, the striker saw little game time under Antonio Conte and was allowed to join Borussia Dortmund on loan in January 2018.

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    #89 Didier Drogba | €39.5m

    It is worth remembering that Didier Drogba had only had one excellent season in Ligue 1 when Chelsea paid what was, at the time, a massive fee (€39.5m) for the powerful striker. However, Drogba ultimately proved a bargain.

    Over the course of eight years at Stamford Bridge, the Ivorian developed into one of the most complete forwards of the modern era, culminating in his heroics in the Champions League final, in which he drew an outplayed Blues side level with a late header in normal time before then deciding the shoot-out in the English side's favour. 

  • David Luiz

    #88 David Luiz | €39.6m

    Many doubted the wisdom of Chelsea's decision to re-sign David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain, given the defender's reputation had taken something of a battering by the end of his first stint at Stamford Bridge – not to mention Brazil's humiliating 2014 World Cup campaign.

    However, he kick-started his career in the French capital and looked a completely different player upon his return to west London, thanks in no small part to Antonio Conte's wise decision to position to Selecao star in the middle of a back three, and played a pivotal part in the 2016-17 title triumph, only to then fall out with the Italian coach.

  • Ederson Manchester City

    #87 Ederson | €40m

    Pep Guardiola had erred in signing Claudio Bravo from Barcelona in 2016 to satisfy his desire for a ball-playing goalkeeper but he made amends 12 months later with the acquisition of Ederson from Benfica. 

    After a slightly nervy start, the Brazilian sweeper-keeper has quickly made the No.1 berth his own and he now looks set to be the first-choice shot-stopper at the Etihad for years to come.

  • Paulinho Lionel Messi Barcelona

    #86 Paulinho | €40m

    It's fair to say that Barcelona fans were severely underwhelmed by the arrival of Paulinho at the end of a summer which had begun with high hopes of signing Marco Verratti. 

    However, after reinvigorating his career in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, the Tottenham flop has silenced all of the doubters with his excellent and goal-filled start to life at Camp Nou.

  • Federico Bernardeschi Cagliari Juventus Serie A

    #85 Federico Bernardeschi | €40m

    One of the most promising attacking talents to emerge in Italy for years, Federico Bernardeschi became an idol at the Artemio Franchi before breaking the hearts of Fiorentina fans by joining their most hated rivals, Juventus, in July 2017.

    Although the versatile forward has yet to become a regular in Turin, he has shown flashes of his undoubted talent and it will be fascinating to see how he develops in the coming years. 

  • Fernandinho Manchester City Huddersfield

    #84 Fernandinho | €40m

    After eight successful seasons with a terrific Shakhtar Donetsk side, Fernandinho moved to Manchester City in 2013 for €40m. 

    The Brazil international may never make many headlines but he has proved a wonderful servent to the Etihad outfit, providing the cover that allows his more skilful team-mates to go and play, and he is one of the first names on Pep Guardiola's teamsheet. 

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    #83 Axel Witsel | €40m

    Like Hulk, Axel Witsel moved to Zenit in 2012 and, like the Brazilian, the Belgian was one of the Primeira Liga's biggest stars at the time, having impressed scouts across Europe with his dynamic displays in the Benfica midfield.

    Witsel's enormous pay packet was also also resented by his new team-mates in St. Petersburg but he quickly become a key member of the Russian side's starting 11 before absconding to China in 2017 to join Tianjin Quanjian, after shunning interest from Juventus.

  • Javi Martinez Bayern Munich

    #82 Javi Martinez | €40m

    Bayern Munich broke the Bundesliga transfer record when they agreed to meet the €40m buy-out clause in Javi Martinez's contract with Athletic Bilbao in 2012. 

    Some felt the Bavarians had overpaid but the Basque settled immediately at the Allianz Arena, helping the club win the Champions League in his debut season, and although he subsequently suffered a serious injury, he remains a valued member of the squad because of his ability to play both in defence and in midfield.

  • Eden Hazard Chelsea

    #81 Eden Hazard | €40m

    Having lit up Ligue 1 with Lille, Eden Hazard was one of the most in-demand players in world football in the summer of 2012 but it was Chelsea who landed the brilliant Belgian thanks in no small part to their status as the newly crowned champions of Europe. 

    At €40m, the attacker represents one of the best bits of business the Blues have ever done, with Hazard having inspired two title triumphs with his fantastic dribbling skills and keen eye for goal.

  • Hulk Zenit

    #80 Hulk | €40m

    After winning three Primeira Liga titles, as well as a Europa League, with Porto, powerhouse forward Hulk joined Zenit in 2012 for €40m, although it is believed that an additional €20m was paid to third parties as part of the transfer.

    The Brazil forward's arrival – or, more accurately, his sizeable pay packet – caused consternation among his new team-mates in Russia but Hulk ultimately went on to make a significant contribution to Zenit's Russian Premier League victory in 2015.

  • Radamel Falcao - Atletico Madrid

    #79 Radamel Falcao | €40m

    Sergio Aguero's departure for Manchester City in 2011 had left a considerable void in the Atletico Madrid but it was filled quite magnificently by Radamel Falcao, who joined from Porto for €40m.

    The Colombia international scored 70 times in just 91 appearances in all competitions for the Rojiblancos, whom he helped win the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey before leaving for Monaco in 2013.

  • Sergio Aguero Manchester City FA Cup

    #78 Sergio Aguero | €40m

    Manchester City have signed a succession of superstars over the past decade but none at a better price than Sergio Aguero, who arrived at Atletico Madrid in 2011 for €40m.

    The Argentine attacker has since written himself into club folklore, primarily by becoming City's all-time record goalscorer, but also because of his dramatic, title-winning strike against QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 Premier League season.

  • David Villa Barcelona Real Madrid

    #77 David Villa | €40m

    After cutting their considerable losses on Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer of 2010, Barcelona swooped for David Villa, splashing €40m on the Valencia attacker.

    The Spain international proved far better suited to Pep Guardiola's style of play than his Swedish successor and although his three-year stint at Camp Nou was interrupted by a broken leg, he remains fondly remembered for a number of key goals, including a sumptuous striker against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool Swansea

    #76 Roberto Firmino | €41m

    Although never a prolific goalscorer at Hoffenheim, Roberto Firmino was regarded as one of brightest attacking talents in the Bundesliga when he signed for Liverpool in 2015 for €41m.

    The fee seemed high but Firmino has steadily improved at Anfield and is now the Reds' undisputed first-choice centre-forward, due to his incredible work-rate, intelligent movement and improving strike-rate.

  • Marc Overmars Barcelona Liverpool

    #75 Marc Overmars | €41m

    Barcelona made Marc Overmars the most expensive Dutch player in history when they acquired the winger after Euro 2000 as part of a deal that also saw his then Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Petit join him at Camp Nou.

    The Frenchman lasted just a season in Catalunya and while Overmars stayed for four years, his time at Barca was unsuccessful and blighted by injuries, so it came as no surprise when he called time on his top-flight career in 2004.

  • Sadio Mane

    #74 Sadio Mane | €41.2m

    Some pundits questioned the wisdom of Liverpool's decision to stump up €41.2m for Sadio Mane in 2016 but the Senegal international has since proven an absolutely steal for the Reds.

    The winger has helped the Anfield outfit become one of the most potent attacking forces in the Premier League due to his blistering pace and propensity for popping up with important goals.

  • Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal Palace

    #73 Shkodran Mustafi | €41.2m

    Shkodran Mustafi came through the youth-team ranks at Everon but never made a single competitive appearance for the Toffees before making a name for himself on the continent, first with Sampdoria and then Valencia.

    It was the Germany international's form at Mestalla that convinced Arsenal to pay €41.2m to take him to the Emirates in in 2016 and the World Cup-winning defender has since impressed when fully fit.

  • Pavel Nedved Juventus

    #72 Pavel Nedved | €41.2m

    After becoming one of the best players in Serie A with Lazio, Pavel Nedved developed into one of the best players in the world after joining Juventus for €41.2m in 2001. 

    As well as winning the Ballon d'Or in 2003, the Czech also played a part in four Serie A title wins (two of which were subsequently revoked due to Cacliopoli) and he further cemented his status as a Bianconeri legend by stayin in Turin in spite of the club's relegation to Serie B in 2006.

  • Andy Carroll Liverpool

    #71 Andy Carroll | €41.3m

    After selling star striker Fernando Torres to Chelsea for a British-record £50m in January 2011, Liverpool desperately needed a replacement No.9, so they immediately turned to Newcastle's Andy Caroll, who had impressed during the first half of his first season in the Premier League.

    It was a huge gamble and it backfired badly, with the towering forward proving ill-suited to the Reds' style of play and too injury-prone to ever give himself a shot at adapting to his new surroundings at Anfield. He left two years, and six Premier League goals, later.

  • Corentin Tolisso Bayern Munich

    #70 Corentin Tolisso | €41.5m

    Corentin Tolisso forged a reputation for himself as one of the most promising midfielders in Europe with his performances for Lyon, whom he helped reached the semi-finals of the 2016-17 Europa League.

    After first breaking into the France squad, the Tarare native then earned himself a move to Bayern Munich, who broke the Bundesliga record by signing Tolisson for €41.5m, with a potential €6m in bonuses. 

  • Lilian Thuram Juventus

    #69 Lilian Thuram | €41.5m

    Juventus made Lilian Thuram the most expensive defender in the world when they paid Parma €41.5m for the Frenchman's services in 2001. It was money very well spent, as the classy and versatile centre-half helped the Bianconeri win two Serie A titles in his first two seasons in Turin. 

    Thurman went on to form one of the best central defensive partnerships the game has ever seen after being paired with Fabio Cannavaro at the heart of a brilliant Bianconeri backline, which provided the foundation for two more Scudetti successes, only for those triumphs to be revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal, which ultimately led to his departure for Barcelona in 2006.

  • Leonardo Bonucci Milan Crotone Serie A

    #68 Leonardo Bonucci | €42m

    AC Milan could not believe their luck when Juventus agreed to sell them the centre-piece of their brilliant backline, Leonardo Bonucci, in July 2017. 

    The Bianconeri were so desperate to off-load the centre-half, who had fallen out with coach Massimiliano Allegri, that the deal was wrapped up in just 48 hours, and for just €42m, but Bonucci has yet to reproduce his very best form since arriving at San Siro.

  • Mohamed Salah Arsenal Liverpool

    #67 Mohamed Salah | €42m

    While it is doubtful that Mohamed Salah will be able to maintain his sensational strike rate at Anfield, there is no doubt that Liverpool pulled off one of the best ever transfers when signing the Egypt international from Roma for just €42m ahead of the 2017-18 season.

    The former Chelsea winger had seen little game time under Jose Mourinho during his first stint in England but he is now proving himself one of the most dangerous forwards in world football under Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan Manchester United Derby FA Cup

    #66 Henrikh Mkhitaryan | €42m

    After making a name for himself at Shakhtar Donetsk, Henrik Mkhitaryan stepped up his transformation into a world-class attacking midfielder at Borussia Dortmund. 

    Indeed, it was his sensational performances at Signal Iduna Park that convinced Jose Mourinho to sign him in the summer of 2016 for €42m but, sadly, Mkhitaryan failed to vindicate the Portuguese manager's faith in him and, in January 2018, he was sent to Arsenal in exchange for Alexis Sanchez.

  • Jackson Martinez

    #65 Jackson Martinez | €42m

    After paying €35m for Jackson Martinez in July 2015 only to see the previously prolific Porto striker struggle terribly to score in Spain, Atletico Madrid could not believe their luck when Guangzhou Evergrande offered €42m for the Colombian flop just seven months later. Unsurprisingly, Martinez has since done nothing in China to explain that ridiculous decision on the part of the CSL side.
  • Thiago Silva PSG Metz Coupe de la Ligue 11012017

    #64 Thiago Silva | €42m

    AC Milan's status as a true giant of European football came to an end the summer in which they sold both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain. Silva's signing was a real coup for the capital club, as he was at the peak of his powers and wanted by Barcelona. The Brazilian centre-half would go on to provide the foundation on which the Parisians' subsequent domestic dominance was constructed.
  • Pastore PSG Nantes Ligue 1

    #63 Javier Pastore | €42m

    Maurizio Zamparini was long considered something of a crackpot club president in Italy but the former Palermo pulled off a masterstroke in persuading Paris Saint-Germain to part company with €42m for Javier Pastore in 2011. The Ligue 1 giants have enjoyed plenty of success in the interim but the Argentine attacking midfielder has rarely been anything more than a peripheral figure and is likely to leave sooner rather than later.
  • Manuel Rui Costa llegó procedente de la Fiorentina por 42 millones de Euros en 2001. GALERÍA.

    #62 Rui Costa | €42m

    A legend in Florence, Rui Costa was essentially forced to leave his beloved Fiorentina in 2001 because of the Viola's financial problems, with the Portuguese playmaker option to join AC Milan over Parma. The €42m fee was a club-record for the Rossoneri and although Costa never quite hit the same heights he had at the Artemio Franchi, he proved integral to their Champions League triumph in 2003, before the arrival of Kaka that very summer eventually reduced him to the role of a reserve for his remaining three years at San Siro.
  • Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal, 17/18

    #61 Alexis Sanchez | €42.5m

    Having failed to nail down a regular berth in the Barcelona line-up, Alexis Sanchez moved to Arsenal in 2014 for €42.5m. It proved a bargain, with the Chile international quickly restoring his reputation as one of the most complete attacking talents in world football by scoring as many goals as he was creating at the Emirates.

    The only trouble was that the forward became increasingly frustrated by the the north London club's inability to sustain a title challenge and he departed for Manchester United in January 2018 as part of a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

  • Radamel Falcao Monaco Angers Ligue 1 02122017

    #60 Radamel Falcao | €43m

    Radamel Falcao had established himself as one of the most lethal finishers in world football during a triumphant two-year stint with Atletico Madrid when he made the surprising decision to move to Monaco in the summer of 2013. The Colombian had been coveted by the likes of Real yet he accepted the huge money on offer in the tax haven to move to the Stade Louis II, where he remains today after unsuccessful loan spells at both Manchester United and Chelsea.
  • Robinho Manchester City

    #59 Robinho | €43m

    Perhaps it was inevitable from the moment Robinho got confused as to which Premier League club – he thanked Chelsea in his first official interview – he'd actually joined on deadline day in September 2008, that his time at Manchester City was never going to last long. Of course, the Brazilian had simply been desperate to leave Real Madrid, where he had been deemed surplus to requirements, and he did show sparks of his undoubted talent during his first season at the Etihand but he eventually lost interest and moved to AC Milan in 2010, after a short loan spell at Santos.
  • Andriy Shevchenko Chelsea

    #58 Andriy Shevchenko | €43.9m

    Roman Abramovich made a number of notable signings during the early part of his Chelsea reign but the 2006 acquistion of Andriy Shevchenko meant the most to the Russian oligarch, who had long pursued the bona fida footballing superstar. Unfortunately, it proved a surpisingly and embarrassingly disastrous deal, with the Ukraine striker netting just nine Premier League goals before being loaned back to AC Milan in 2008 and then allowed to return to Dynamo Kyiv on a free transfer two years later.
  • Leroy Sane Manchester City Burnley

    #57 Leroy Sane | €44m

    As a player who had shone on his Champions League debut, at the Santiago Bernabeu of all places, it was only ever a matter of time before Schalke starlet Leroy Sane earned a move to an elite club. It was Manchester City who eventually stumped up the cash to buy the speedy winger but it now looks like money extrememly well spent, with Sane having already established himself as one of the most exciting attacking talents in the Premier League.
  • Nemanja Matic Manchester United

    #56 Nemanja Matic | €44.7m

    Nemanja Matic had played a key role in Chelsea's Premier League 2016-17 title triumph, so there was widespread surprise when the Blues accepted Manchester United's €44.7m bid for the Serbian before the start of the following campaign. It was a sizeable fee for a 29-year-old but given the man bought to replace him at Stamford Bridge, Tiemoue Bakayoko, has struggled to date, Jose Mourinho remains far happier with the deal than his Blues counterpart Antonio Conte.
  • Vinicius Jr. Flamengo

    #55 Vinicius Junior | €45m

    The 16-year-old Vinicius Junior made his first senior appearance on May 13, 2017. Just 10 days later, it was confirmed that Real Madrid had met the Flamengo starlet's buy-out clause of €45m.

    It was expected that the Brazilian prodigy would remain on loan to the Rio-based club for a further two years but los Blancos scouts have apparently been so impressed by the forward's performances during his rookie season in Serie A, that he could arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu when he turns 18 in July 2018.

  • Tiemoue Bakayoko Chelsea

    #54 Tiemoue Bakayoko | €45m

    The driving force behind Monaco's sensational Ligue 1 title win in 2016-17, Tiemoue Bakayoko provided the platform which allowed the likes of Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe to go and play. Several top clubs took notice of the France international's impressive industry but it was Chelsea who won the race to sign Bakayoko. However, the Paris native has yet to live up to expectations at Stamford Bridge.
  • Granit Xhaka Arsenal Kevin Friend referee

    #53 Granit Xhaka | €45m

    After establishing a reputation as one of the most dynamic and destructive forces in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, Granit Xhaka was picked up by Arsenal in the summer of 2016. The Gunners paid €45m for the Swiss international's services but Xhaka has racked up more cards than positive performances during his time at the Emirates so far. 
  • Joao Mario Inter

    #52 Joao Mario | €45m

    After playing a pivotal role in Portugal's shock triumph at Euro 2016, Sporting CP ace Joao Mario earned himself €45 million move to Inter.

    Unfortunately, the midfielder severely underwhelmed at San Siro and was targeted by the fans. As a result, few shed a tear when he departed in January 2018 to join West Ham on loan, intent on boosting his hopes of playing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

  • James Rodriguez Monaco

    #51 James Rodriguez | €45m

    After three trophy-laden seasons at Porto, James Rodriguez was snapped up by Porto in 2013 for €45m. If the fee for the then 21-year-old seemed excessive at the time, it subsequently proved incredibly shrewd, as the attacking midfielder was sold to Real Madrid just 12 months later for €80m after starring for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup.
  • Christian Benteke Liverpool

    #50 Christian Benteke | €45.8m

    Even before Liverpool agreed to pay Aston Villa a club-record €45.8m for Christian Benteke, there were doubts over how exactly the powerful striker would fit into an attack based on pace and movement. Therefore, it came as no great surprise that the Belgium international struggled under Brendan Rodgers before being promptly offloaded by his successor, Jurgen Klopp, whose style of play was even more unsuited to Benteke's skill-set.
  • Douglas Costa Juventus Barcelona Champions League

    #49 Douglas Costa | €46m

    After a sensational debut campaign with Bayern Munich following his 2015 switch from Shakhtar Donetsk, Douglas Costa suffered a severe case of second-season syndrome. As a result, the Bavarians allowed the lightning-fast winger to join Juventus on loan for €6m in the summer of 2017, with a view to a permanent transfer for an additional €40m the following summer.
  • Juan Mata Manchester United Leicester City

    #48 Juan Mata | €46m

    Despite being a hugely popular figure among Chelsea fans, Juan Mata found himself surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge following the return of Jose Mourinho as manager. As a result, the classy Spain international was allowed to join Premier League rivals Manchester United, who paid a then club-record fee of €46m for the attacking midfielder in January 2014.
  • Ronaldo Real Madrid

    #47 Ronaldo | €46m

    After completing his World Cup redemption in remarkable fashion by firing Brazil to glory in Japan & South Korea in 2002, Ronaldo sealed a dramatic deadline-day move from Inter to Real Madrid at the close of the summer transfer window. Even though he began to struggle with weight problems, particularly at the tail end of his spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, the striker scored freely for los Blancos, winning two Liga titles.
  • Rio Ferdinand Manchester United

    #46 Rio Ferdinand | €46m

    Rio Ferdinand became the most expensive defender in history for a second time when he joined Manchester United from Leeds United in 2002, having lost his crown the year before to Lilian Thuram. The centre-half proved a spectacular success at Old Trafford, winning a plethora of trophies during his 12-year stay, including six Premier League trophies and one Champions League.
  • Juan Sebastian Veron Manchester United

    #45 Juan Sebastian Veron | €46m

    Juan Sebastian Veron was regarded as one of the finest midfielders in world football when he arrived at Manchester United from Lazio in 2001 for €46m. Although he showed flashes of his wonderful array of skills, and in spite of Alex Ferguson's protestations, the Argentina international proved a major disappointment at Old Trafford and was offloaded to Chelsea just two years later.
  • Hearts of Oak

    #44 Mesut Ozil | €47m

    Cristiano Ronaldo was just one of several Real Madrid players disappointed to see Mesut Ozil leave Real Madrid for Arsenal in the summer of 2013.

    The assist king of European football has copped plenty of flak during his time at the Emirates for his perceived lack of fight but he remains a joy to behold for the fans, who were delighted when he agreed to extend his expiring contract in January 2018.

  • Gaizka Mendieta Lazio

    #43 Gaizka Mendieta | €48m

    One of the stars of the brilliant Valencia side that reached back-to-back Champions League finals at the turn of the millennium, Gaizka Mendieta was renowned for his dynamism and propensity for spectacular strikes. Neither were seen at Lazio, though, with the Spain international proving one of the biggest flops in football history after moving to Rome for €48m.
  • Christian Vieri Inter UEFA Cup

    #42 Christian Vieri | €49m

    The biggest move of Christian Vieri's peripatetic career came in 1999 when he left Lazio to join Serie A rivals Inter for a then world-record fee of €49m. The striker had a decent strike rate at San Siro, even winning the Capocannoniere in 2003, but his time with the Nerazzurri was blighted by injuries and the only piece of silverware he got his hands on was the Coppa Italia.
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson Everton

    #41 Gylfi Sigurdsson | €49.2m

    Having re-established his reputation as one of the Premier League's best attacking midfielders at Swansea after flopping at Tottenham, Gylfi Sigurdsson was snapped up for a desperate Everton side for an eyebrow-raising fee of €49.2m. Unfortunately for both the Toffees and the Iceland international, Sigurdsson has, thus far, failed dismally to justify his colossal price tag.
  • Anthony Martial Manchester United Everton

    #40 Anthony Martial | €49.3m

    Anthony Martial had already joined Monaco for €6m when the French forward became the most expensive teenager in history by moving to Manchester United for €49.3m in 2015.

    Branded "a waste of money" by one British tabloid, Martial made a sensational start to his Old Trafford career and although he has since had his ups and downs, he remains a potential superstar.

  • Bernardo Silva Manchester City 14102017

    #39 Bernardo Silva | €50m

    Bernardo Silva became one of Europe's hottest properties after starring for Monaco during their remarkable title triumph in 2017. Manchester City, though, moved quickly to wrap up a €50m deal for the Portuguese playmaker with the silky skills.

    Silva has had a slow start to his career at the Etihad yet seems destined to prove the ideal successor to David Silva when the Spaniard eventually moves on.

  • Alex Teixeira Jiangsu Suning Chinese Super League 05032016

    #38 Alex Teixeira | €50m

    Liverpool had high hopes of signing Alex Teixeira in 2016 but the Merseysiders' €32m bid for the Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder was blown out of the water by Jiangsu Suning, who handed over an eye-watering €50m for the Brazilian.

    The 27-year-old has an impressive strike-rate for the Chinese outfit but he remains uncapped by his country.

  • Eliaquim Mangala Manchester City

    #37 Eliaquim Mangala | €51.7m

    After starting his career in Belgium with Standard Liege, Eliaquim Mangala become one of the most coveted centre-halves in Europe due to his performances for Porto.

    However, the France international struggled horribly to justify his gargantuan transfer that Manchester City paid for his services in 2014 and, in spite of a strong loan spell at Valencia last season, he is now considered nothing more than a back-up defender at the Etihad.

  • Gianluigi Buffon Juventus

    #36 Gianluigi Buffon | €52m

    It says everything about Giangluigi Buffon's sustained excellence that 16 years after leaving Parma for Juventus, he remains the most expensive goalkeeper of all time.

    Given how crazy the market has gone, his record will soon be broken but the Italian icon's achievements are unlikely to ever be surpassed.

  • Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal

    #35 Alexandre Lacazette | €53m

    After years of being linked with a big-money move due to his goalscoring exploits in Ligue 1, the lethal Alexandre Lacazette finally left Lyon during the summer, joining Arsenal for a club-record €53m fee.

    The France international, who could cost an additional €7m in add-ons, has shown flashes of his very best form but has yet to fully convince.

  • Hernan Crespo Lazio

    #34 Hernan Crespo | €55m

    A prolific all-round forward, Hernan Crespo became the world's most expensive player when he left Parma for Lazio in 2000.

    The Argentine enjoyed a sensational first season in Rome, finishing as Serie A's Capoconniere, but his second was marred by injuries and he was then sold to rivals Inter due to the capital club's financial problems.

  • Kyle Walker Manchester City

    #33 Kyle Walker | €56.7m

    Manchester City desperately wanted a new full-back during the summer but nobody expected them to pay such a massive fee for Tottenham's Kyle Walker.

    In fairness, while the figures involved still seem ridiculous, the England international is performing excellently for Pep Guardiola's champions-elect.

  • John Stones Manchester City

    #32 John Stones | €58m

    Given the patchy nature of John Stones' performances during his final season at Everton, many were surprised by Manchester City's decision to pay such a massive fee for the ball-playing centre-half.

    However, after a rocky start to his time at the Etihad, Stones is now flourishing under Pep Guardiola and looks well placed to justify his price tag.

  • Benjamin Mendy Manchester City

    #31 Benjamin Mendy | €58.2m

    Just a year after joining Monaco from Marseille for €13m, Benjamin Mendy moved to Manchester City for more than four times that figure.

    The Frenchman's rise has been truly remarkable and the only shame now is that he got scant opportunity to prove his worth, having suffered a serious knee injury in September.

  • Hulk Shanghai SIPG

    #30 Hulk | €58.6m

    As a player who had previously made a lucrative move to Russia, it came as no surprise when Hulk decided to accept a colossal offer from Shanghai SIPG to go to play in China last year.

    The Brazilian, who had a previously stint in Japan early on his career, has adapted well and is scoring regularly in the CSL.

  • Fernando Torres Chelsea

    #29 Fernando Torres | €59m

    It was easy to understand why Chelsea felt compelled to break the transfer record to sign Fernando Torres, who had developed into arguably the most lethal No.9 in world football in Liverpool.

    However, despite a memorable goal against Barcelona during the Blues' triumphant 2011-12 Champions League campaign, the Spain international's time at Stamford Bridge was mostly miserable.

  • Luis Figo Real Madrid Barcelona

    #28 Luis Figo | €60m

    One of the most controversial transfers in history, Luis Figo infuriated both the Barcelona board and the club's supporters when he dared to depart for bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2000.

    The Blaugrana received a then record fee for the Portuguese winger but that did not soften the blow of seeing their former idol playing and winning titles with los Blancos and he remains a figure of hate even today.

  • Oscar, Shanghai, 13042017

    #27 Oscar | €60.3m

    Although Oscar was no longer a certain starter at Chelsea, it came as a massive surprise when he joined Shanghai SIPG last year, particularly as he was being courted by a number of top European clubs.

    The fee was also a record for the CSL but what was more noteworthy was the fact that the Brazil international was the first big name to make the move to China while still very much in his prime.

  • Angel Di Maria Strasbourg PSG Coupe de la Ligue 13122017.jpg

    #26 Angel Di Maria | €61.6m

    Angel Di Maria may have flopped at Manchester United but that didn't stop PSG paying big money for the former Real Madrid man in 2015.

    The Argentine initially flourished in France, setting a new Ligue 1 assists record at the end of his first season at the Parc des Princes, but is no longer a certain starter following the arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

  • David Luiz

    #25 David Luiz | €62.5m

    Eyebrows were raised when Paris Saint-Germain paid Chelsea such a colossal fee for David Luiz, a defender who had become infamous for his poor positioning and propensity for making mistakes.

    However, the ball-playing centre-half did so well at the Parc des Princes that the Blues bought the Brazilian back in 2016.

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsene Wenger

    #24 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | €63.75m

    After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to find a new club during the 2017 summer transfer window, Borussia Dortmund vowed to hold on to the Gabon international until the end of the season. 

    However, the still-prolific but clearly-unsettled striker began pushing for a move again in January and, after lengthy discussions with Arsenal, BVB reluctantly allowed Aubameyang to move to the Emirates for €63.75m, a club-record fee for the Gunners.

  • Edinson Cavani PSG Caen Ligue 1 20122017.jpg

    #23 Edinson Cavani | €64.5m

    After finishing as top scorer in Serie A with Napoli, Edinson Cavani earned himself a bumper move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2013.

    Often forced to play second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Uruguay striker enjoyed the most prolific season of his career following the Swede's move to Manchester United in 2016 and the 30-year-old continues to score freely alongside new arrivals Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

  • Aymeric Laporte Athletic Club

    #22 Aymeric Laporte | €65m

    Despite having angered Manchester City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain, by pulling out of a deal to move to the Etihad in the summer of 2016, Aymeric Laporte still ended up joining Pep Guardiola's side. 

    With the Premier League outfit having missed out on Virgil van Dijk in the 2018 January transfer window, they once again turned to the versatile defender, agreeing to pay the €65m buy-out clause in the Frenchman's contract with Athletic Bilbao.

  • Kaka, Real Madrid

    #21 Kaka | €65m

    The last man other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to have lifted the Ballon d'Or, Kaka moved to Real Madrid from AC Milan for a then world-record fee of €65m in 2009.

    However, the silky Brazilian endured a torried time at the Santiago Bernabeu, as he struggled for both form and fitness before rejoining the Rossoneri for nothing four years later.

  • Diego Costa Atletico Madrid

    #20 Diego Costa | €66m

    Diego Costa was sensational during the first half of Chelsea's 2016-17 Premier League triumph but his relationship with coach Antonio Conte detiororated rapidly and, after very nearly leaving for the Chinese Super League in January, he was informed at the end of the campaign via text message that his services were no longer required by the Italian.

    As a result, the Spain international decided to rejoin Atletico Madrid, who paid a whopping €66 million for the striker, despite the fact that they were not in a position to register the player until January 2018 because of their transfer ban.

  • Raheem Sterling Manchester City celebrate

    #19 Raheem Sterling | €69.1m

    Raheem Sterling upset Liverpool fans with the manner of his departure for Manchester City in 2015 but the feeling was that the Anfield outfit had got good money for the winger.

    However, after taking time to settle at the Etihad, the England international has now progressed to another level under manager Pep Guardiola, who has helped Sterling improve both his finishing and his final ball.

  • Pep Guardiola Zlatan Ibrahimovic Barcelona

    #18 Zlatan Ibrahimovic | €69.5m

    Then Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola wanted to add an extra dimension to his all-conquering side so it was unsurprising that the Catalans swooped for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was turning in sensational performances for Inter at the time.

    However, the price, coupled with the decision to include Samuel Eto'o in the transfer, make this one of the worst transfers in history, as the fiery Swedish striker fell out spectacularly with Guardiola during his one season at Barca and returned to Italy to link up with AC Milan.

  • Louis van Gaal Angel Di Maria Manchester United

    #17 Angel Di Maria | €74.6m

    Another big-money move that disappointed. Angel Di Maria moved to Manchester United shortly after staring in Real Madrid's 2014 Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid and was expected to light up the Premier League.

    However, after a bright start, the Argentine attacker fell out of favour with manager Louis van Gaal and absconded to PSG the following year in rather acrimonious circumstances.

  • Kevin De Bruyne, Man City

    #16 Kevin De Bruyne | €75m

    Having earned himself a move to Chelsea in 2012 with his promising performances for Genk, Kevin De Bruyne then struggled terribly to make an impact at Stamford Bridge and was promptly discarded by then boss Jose Mourinho – despite having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Werder Bremen, in 2012-13.

    However, the Belgium international continued to develop at Wolfsburg, so much so in fact that Manchester City handed over €75m to the German outfit in 2015 to bring De Bruyne back to the Premier League, where he has now become one of the finest attackers in world football.

  • Zinedine Zidane

    #15 Zinedine Zidane | €77.5m

    Real Madrid broke the transfer fee world record to prise Zinedine Zidane away from Juventus in 2001, paying 150 billion Italian lire (€77.5m) for the the France international. It was money well spent.

    Indeed, his breath-taking winner in the 2002 Champions League final probably made it all worthwhile but the attacking midfielder spent a total of five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, wowing the crowd with his wondrous ball control before hanging up his boots.

    However, Zidane returned as a coach in 2014, first with Real Madrid Castilla and then the first team, to usher in a new era of success in the Spanish capital.

  • Chelsea - Newcastle: Alvaro Morata

    #14 Alvaro Morata | €78.9m

    Despite failing to usurp Karim Benzema as Real Madrid's first-choice No.9, Alvaro Morata only enhanced his reputation every time he did play during the 2016-17 season and was, therefore, a man in demand when he elected to leave the capital club during the summer.

    Chelsea broke their transfer record to sign Morata for €78.9m but, despite a strong start to his Stamford Bridge career, he has yet to prove himself a worthy successor to the likes of Didier Drogba and Diego Costa.

  • James Rodriguez Real Madrid

    #13 James Rodriguez | €80m

    Just a year after joining Monaco, James Rodriguez moved to Real Madrid for €80m, after lighting up the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with a string of sensational performances and stunning strikes.

    However, despite showing occasional flashes of his undoubted talent, the attacking midfielder struggled for form and fitness at the Santiago Bernabeu and was allowed to join Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.

  • Luis Suarez Barcelona

    #12 Luis Suarez | €82.3m

    Barcelona's decision to shell out €82.3m on Luis Suarez in 2014 was seen as an incredible risky move, given the Uruguay international was still suspended for having bitten Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at that summer's World Cup in Brazil.

    It was the third such incident the striker had been involved in but the Blaugrana were undeterred and the gamble paid off spectacularly, with Suarez playing a pivotal part in a stunning treble triumph in his first season at Camp Nou, after forming one of the greatest attacking triumvirates the game has ever seen with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

  • Virgil van Dijk

    #11 Virgil van Dijk | €84.5m

    The most expensive defender of all time, Virgil van Dijk had hoped to join Liverpool during the 2017 summer transfer window but the Reds were forced to back off – and issue a grovelling apology – after Southampton accused them of making an illegal approach to the Dutchman.

    However, due to their ongoing defensive issues, Liverpool returned with a whopping €84.5m bid in January 2018 and the Saints were more than happy to sell a player who had played little more than a bit-part role in the first half of the season.

  • Romelu Lukaku Manchester United

    #10 Romelu Lukaku | €84.8m

    Manchester United's second entry in the top 10 transfers of all time, Romelu Lukaku arrived at Old Trafford from Everton in 2017 for a whopping €84.8m, after making it clear that he wanted to play for a Champions League club.

    The Belgium striker's record against top teams remains under scrutiny but he is nonetheless scoring regularly in his first season with Jose Mourinho's side.

  • Neymar Barcelona 2017

    #9 Neymar | €86.2m

    Neymar's move from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 was the biggest transfer ever to include a South American club, and also one of the most controversial.

    Indeed, while the fee was originally reported as €57.1m, a protracted legal investigation into the whole affair – which prompted the resignation of president Sandro Rosell after allegations of tax fraud – revealed that the real figure was €86.2m.

    However, even today, there are claims that Barca may have even paid even more than that to land the Brazilian superstar.

  • Gonzalo Higuain Juventus

    #8 Gonzalo Higuain | €90m

    Juventus took Napoli totally by surprise when they decided to meet Gonzalo Higuain's buy-out clause in the summer of 2016.

    The Argentine attacker's departure caused uproar in Naples, where he had just broken the goals record for a single Serie A season, but he has now become a popular player in Turin after helping the Bianconeri win the double in his debut season.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

    #7 Cristiano Ronaldo | €94m

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the most expensive player in the world back in 2009 when he joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for €94m.

    Nine years, four Ballons d'Or and three Champions Leagues later, few would dispute the assertion that the Portuguese superstar was worth every cent.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2017-18

    #6 Cristiano Ronaldo | €100m

    Nine years after Real Madrid purchased Ronaldo from Manchester United, they sold him to Juventus for €6m more than they paid in 2009. After 450 goals, four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles, it's clear that Madrid got their money's worth! 
  • Gareth Bale Real Madrid

    #5 Gareth Bale | €100.8m

    Another former record-holder, Bale became the first footballer to be worth nine figures when Real Madrid paid just over €100m for his signature in 2013.

    The ex-Tottenham star remains Britain's most expensive ever export and has enjoyed a successful – if injury-plagued – spell in Spain.

  • Paul Pogba Vicente Iborra Manchester United Leicester City

    #4 Paul Pogba | €105m

    Manchester United made a very costly mistake when they allowed Paul Pogba to wind down his contract and join perennial bargain-hunters Juventus on a free transfer in 2012.

    Four years later, the Red Devils had to pay a world-record €105m to re-sign the France midfielder, who is now starting to show just why they were willing to bring him back to Old Trafford whatever the cost.

  • Ousmane Dembele Barcelona

    #3 Ousmane Dembele | €105m

    Ousmane Dembele had only enjoyed two full seasons of top-flight football when Barcelona decided to make him the most expensive signing in their long and illustrious history in August 2017. 

    Desperate to make a major move in the market after being left shell-shocked by the loss of Neymar to PSG, the Blaugrana turned to the jet-heeled Dembele, paying a canny Borussia Dortmund an initial €105m for the winger, with the potential for a further €40m in add-ons. 

    As of yet, though, Dembele has yet to make much of an impact at Camp Nou, having spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.

  • Philippe Coutinho

    #2 Philippe Coutinho | €120m

    A protracted transfer battle between Liverpool and Barcelona for the services of Philippe Coutinho belatedly came to an end in January 2018 when the Reds finally admitted defeat in their efforts to persuade the Brazil international that his future lay at Anfield.

    Despite Coutinho being ineligible to play in the Champions League, the Blaugrana agreed to pay €120m up front for the attacking midfielder, with the potential for another €40m in achievable add-ons, bringing the total value of the transfer to €160m.

    In short, it was an offer that Liverpool found too good to refuse.

  • Neymar PSG Caen Ligue 1 20122017

    #1 Neymar | €222m

    It was the transfer that stunned the football world – and shattered the previous transfer record.

    In August 2017, Paris Saint-Germain sensationally agreed to meet the €222m buy-out clause in Neymar's Barcelona contract, leaving the Catalans in a state of shock.

    On the field, Neymar has had little trouble living up to his billing as the most valuable player of all time but, off it, things are going less smoothly and it seems increasingly likely that his stay at the Parc des Princes will be a short one.