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Real Madrid most expensive signings - How Blancos spent over €2.3 billion on incoming transfers

8:00 AM EDT 9/8/22
Real Madrid Big spenders Cristiano Ronaldo Eden Hazard
Real Madrid have made transfers worth almost €2.3 billion that defined modern day football

One of the greatest football clubs in history, Real Madrid have never shied away from making big-money moves in the transfer market.

The beginning of the new millennium saw them being nicknamed 'Los Galacticos' when they brought in at least one big superstar in every summer transfer window between 2000 to 2006.

After the end of that era, Real Madrid continued to spend big at times, even if they were slightly more frugal for a few years between 2015 and 2019.

They then broke the back on Eden Hazard, before going into savings mode again as they aimed to bring in both Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

Alas, they missed out on both as Haaland joined Manchester City and Mbappe signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

With cash to burn, Madrid then turned to Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni instead!

Real Madrid most expensive transfers by season

Season

Most expensive signing

Fee

Total spending

2022/23

Aurelien Tchouameni

€80M/£72M

€80M/£72M

2021/22

Eduardo Camavinga

€31M/£27.90M

€31M/£27.90M

2020/21

None

Nil

Nil

2019/20

Eden Hazard

€115M/£103.50M

€355.50M/£319.95M

2018/19

Vinicius Junior

€45M/£40.50M

€164.75M/£148.28M

2017/18

Theo Hernandez

€24M/£21.60M

€40.50M/£36.45M

2016/17

Alvaro Morata

€30M/£27M

€30M/£27M

2015/16

Mateo Kovacic

€38M/£34.20M

€92.90M/£83.61M

2014/15

James Rodriguez

€75M/£67.50M

€126M/£113.40M

2013/14

Gareth Bale

€101M/£90.90M

€175.50M/£157.95M

2012/13

Luka Modric

€35M/£31.50M

€38.50M/£34.65M

2011/12

Fabio Coentrao

€30M/£27M

€56M/£50.40M

2010/11

Angel Di Maria

€33M/£29.70M

€93M/£83.70M

2009/10

Cristiano Ronaldo

€94M/£84.60M

€258.50M/£232.65M

2008/09

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

€27M/£24.30M

€82.20M/£73.98M

2007/08

Arjen Robben

€35M/£31.50M

€118M/£106.20M

2006/07

Mahamadou Diarra

€26M/£23.40M

€103M/£92.70M

2005/06

Sergio Ramos

€27M/£24.30M

€89.50M/£80.55M

2004/05

Walter Samuel

€25M/£22.50M

€58.70M/£52.83M

2003/04

David Beckham

€37.50M/£33.75M

€37.50M/£33.75M

2002/03

Ronaldo

€45M/£40.50M

€45M/£40.50M

2001/02

Zinedine Zidane

€77.50M/£69.75M

€77.50M/£69.75M

2000/01

Luis Figo

€60M/£54M

€121.95M/£109.76M

TOTAL

€2,36b/£2,05b

*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise.

Also read: From Cristiano Ronaldo to Casemiro - How Real Madrid made over €1.4 billion in player transfer sales

Real Madrid's top 15 most expensive player signings

  • Mateo Kovacic Real Madrid Real Sociedad LaLiga 29012016

    #15 Mateo Kovacic | €38 million/£34.20 million | Inter | 2015

    Real Madrid were in search of a central midfielder in the summer of 2015 as they aimed to add to their options alongside Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.

    It's definitely not an easy task for any player to match these three greats in terms of ability, but Madrid felt Kovacic was the man for the job and spent €38 million (£32.40 million) to lure the Croatia man away from Inter.

    The midfielder spent three seasons at Real Madrid and after failing to find his place at the club, Kovacic was loaned to Chelsea in the summer of 2018.

    His impressive performances for the Blues eventually led them to buy him for €45m (£40.50m) in 2019.

  • Ronaldo Nazario Real Madrid

    #14 Ronaldo Nazario | €45 million/£40.50 million | Inter | 2002

    One of the greatest footballers to have graced the beautiful game, Ronaldo Nazario made the move from Inter to Real Madrid in 2002, just over a month after lifting the World Cup with Brazil.

    The Brazilian superstar cost Los Blancos €45 million (£40.50 million) at that time and formed an integral part of the Galactico era being built by Florentino Perez.

    Ronaldo made 177 appearances for Madrid in his career, scoring 103 goals and assisting 34 during his five years at the club.

  • Vinicius Jr, Elche vs. Real Madrid

    #13 Vinicius Jr | €45 million/£40.50 million | Flamengo | 2018

    One of the best signings made by Real Madrid in recent years has to be Vinicius Jr.

    The Brazilian wonderkid arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu at the tender age of 18 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the best players at the club ever since.

    Without doubt, Vinicius' biggest contribution at Madrid has been his all-important goal in the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool.

    A pacy winger with a keen eye for goal, Vinicius is definitely justifying his €45 million/£40.50 million price tag.

  • rodrygo

    #12 Rodrygo | €45 million/£40.50 million | Santos | 2019

    Brazilian wonderkid Rodrygo joined Real Madrid from Santos in 2019 for €45 million (£40.50 million).

    Joining the club as an 18-year-old, Rodrygo was being termed as 'the next Neymar' in Brazil.

    The winger came off the bench to save Madrid with two late goals against Manchester City in the 2021-22 season, sending them to the Champions League final.

    Madrid then went on to beat Liverpool in the final, with Rodrygo's compatriot Vinicius Junior scoring the winner against Jurgen Klopp's men.

  • Ferland Mendy Real Madrid 2021-22

    #11 Ferland Mendy | €48 million/£43.20 million | Lyon | 2019

    Some eyebrows were raised when Real Madrid signed French left-back Ferland Mendy for €48 million/£43.20 million from Lyon in the summer of 2019 as critics felt he was not quite Madrid material yet.

    The defender took some time to settle in at the club, but eventually formed a brilliant defensive partnership with centre-backs David Alaba and Eder Militao, and Dani Carvajal on the right.

    Mendy lived up to his price-tag when he came up with important contributions in critical games to help Madrid win their record 14th Champions League title in the 2021-22 season.

  • Eder Militao Real Madrid

    #10 Eder Militao | €50 million/£45 million | Porto | 2019

    Real Madrid splashed €50 million (£45 million) on Eder Militao back in 2019, which was considered premium money for a 21-year-old defender playing for Porto.

    There were some doubts over his game-time in his first two seasons, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane still at the club.

    But the Brazilian saw off competition from both players and went on to form an excellent defensive partnership with David Alaba.

    Madrid's investment reaped immense reward as Militao proved himself to be one of their best defenders, especially in their UEFA Champions League glory in the 2021-22 season.

  • HD Luis Figo Real Madrid

    #9 Luis Figo | €60 million/£54 million | Barcelona | 2000

    One of the biggest, most controversial transfers of the new millennium saw Luis Figo commit a cardinal sin in Spain by making the highly-controversial switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid.

    Signed for a then world record fee of €60 million (£54 million), Figo marked the beginning of Florentino Perez's Galacticos era.

    The Ballon d'Or winner of 2000 might have just scored just 57 goals, but came up with 92 assists for Real Madrid in 245 games, etching his name in the club's folklore.

    Figo went on to feature for Inter after attaining legendary status at the Santiago Bernabeu.

  • Luka Jovic Real Madrid 2020

    #8 Luka Jovic | €63 million/£56.70 million | Eintracht | 2019

    Real Madrid jumped at the chance to bring in promising striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt back in 2019.

    They splashed €60 million (£54 million) on the Serbian forward and much was expected of him.

    However, over the course of the 2019-20 season and half of the 2020-21 campaign, Jovic could only make 51 appearances for Madrid, scoring three and assisting five goals.

    In January 2021, he was loaned back to Eintracht, who refused to make the move permanent in that very summer.

    Jovic spent the 2021-22 season at Real Madrid again, before being offloaded to Fiorentina in the 2022 summer transfer window for free.

  • Kaka Real Madrid

    #7 Kaka | €67 million/£60.30 million | Milan | 2009

    When Real Madrid signed Kaka from Milan in that memorable summer transfer window of 2009, it was termed as Florentino Perez's second attempt at beginning the Galacticos era at the club.

    The Brazilian was signed for an eye-watering €67 million (£60.30 million) in the same transfer window in which Madrid signed Cristiano Ronaldo.

    However, his career at Real Madrid was quite anti-climactic compared to the price-tag he arrived for, courtesy of a series of injuries.

    The 2007 Ballon d'Or winner made 120 appearances for Real Madrid over four seasons, scoring 29 goals and assisting another 39.

    Kaka also won La Liga and Copa Del Rey once, before returning back to Milan in 2013 as a free transfer.

  • James Rodriguez Real Madrid Cornella Copa del Rey 12022014

    #6 James Rodriguez | €75 million/£67.50 million | Monaco | 2014

    After an incredible individual performance for Colombia at the World Cup in 2014, James Rodriguez made a blockbuster move to Real Madrid.

    They paid Monaco a hefty €75 million (£67.50 million) for James, who became an instant hit at the Santiago Bernabeu in his first season at the club.

    The attacking midfielder scored 17 goals and provided 18 assists across all competitions in his debut 2014-15 season, before Zinedine Zidane's arrival at the club as their new head coach.

    Zidane didn't see a future for James as part of his vision at Real Madrid.

    After two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, James did spend the 2019-20 season with Madrid again, featuring in just 14 games across all competitions.

    The Colombian then made a free transfer to Everton in the Premier League in September 2020, before being sold to Al-Rayyan SC in 2021 for €8m (£7.2m).

  • Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid 2002

    #5 Zinedine Zidane | €77.50 million/£69.75 million | Juventus | 2001

    World Cup and Euro winning superstar Zinedine Zidane made a blockbuster move to Real Madrid from Juventus for a then world record fee of €77.50 million (£69.75 million).

    The Frenchman instantly became a fan favourite at the club and established himself as a bonafide legend in his five-year spell before hanging up his boots in 2006.

    Zidane won one La Liga title, two Spanish Super Cup trophies, one Champions League crown, one UEFA Super Cup and an Intercontinental cup as a player with Madrid.

    The creative midfielder made 227 appearances for Real Madrid across all competitions, scoring 49 goals and providing 67 assists in his time at the club.

    He returned to the club in the capacity of a manager and led them to 11 major trophies across his two spells with the club.

    This included two La Liga titles, two Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, two Club World Cups and an incredible three Champions League titles won in consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2018.

  • 20220903_Tchouameni

    #4 Aurelien Tchouameni | €80 million/£72 million | Monaco | 2022

    Real Madrid dived into the transfer market in the summer of 2022 for a defensive midfielder and signed one of the best up and coming players in that profile, Aurelien Tchouameni.

    Arriving from Monaco with a huge price tag of €80 million (£72 million), Tchouameni became one of the most expensive players ever bought by Madrid.

    The Frenchman had never featured in the Champions League before joining the Spanish giants, but that did not stop them from cashing in on Casemiro in order to make room for Tchouameni.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2009

    #3 Cristiano Ronaldo | €94 million/£84.60 million | Manchester United | 2009

    Cristiano Ronaldo made the move to Real Madrid from Manchester United in the summer of 2009.

    Florentino Perez has been chasing Ronaldo for two years and eventually got his wish fulfilled for a then world record €94 million (£84.60 million).

    The Portuguese attacker won it all at Real Madrid, individually as well as with the team.

    Ronaldo won four Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two Club World Cups, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cup titles in his nine year stint at Real Madrid.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 450 goals and provided 131 assists for the club in just 438 games that he played for them.

  • Gareth Bale Real Madrid

    #2 Gareth Bale | €101 million/£90.90 million | Tottenham | 2014

    Real Madrid broke their transfer record for the second time in five years when they signed Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2014.

    Bale, who arrived at the club with a price-tag of €101 million (£90.90 million), formed part of an incredible attacking trio also including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

    While the Welshman might not always receive enough plaudits for his career as a whole, his contribution to Real Madrid's recent Champions League glories cannot go unnoticed, especially the wonder goal he scored against Liverpool in the final of 2018.

    Bale featured in 258 games for Real Madrid, scoring 106 and assisting 67 goals.

    He left Madrid to return to Tottenham Hotspur on a one-season loan in 2021, before making the move to MLS with Los Angeles FC in the summer of 2022.

  • Eden Hazard Real Madrid sub 2021-22

    #1 Eden Hazard | €115 million/£103.50 million | Chelsea | 2019

    Chelsea icon Eden Hazard made a dream move to Real Madrid back in 2019 as they shattered their transfer record to sign the Belgian for €115 million (£103.50 million).

    However, things didn't work out at all for Hazard in Madrid.

    The majority of his time at the club has seen him injured or unfit to play and he has struggled to live up to the high expectations since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Throw in the rise to prominence of Vinicius Junior and it seems unlikely Hazard will ever achieve the same stardom at Madrid that he had at Chelsea.