Top 5 - Biggest Football Transfers in History
The world of football moves billions of euros, dollars, and pounds sterling every
year, with the major clubs willing to pay big money for the best players. In this
article, we take a look at the top 5 football transfers in history and other
interesting data from the transactions that have set records over time.
Any fan might think that the best footballers in history also appear in the lists of the most
expensive transfers in history, but quality and talent do not always equate to heavy
transactions. Many players have spent their careers at the same club because the club has
no intention of selling, not necessarily because there are no clubs willing to put a pile of
money on the table for them. Example number one: Lionel Messi.
We must also consider the question of the market since football has evolved financially
over the years and the amounts that are handled today are very different from those of
other decades. The services of Pelé, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, or Alfredo Distefano
would currently have certain values that are not at all close to those embodied in their
Most expensive football transfers ever
The major European leagues dominate the international market in terms of sales,
sponsorships, and income from fan engagement, so it is not surprising that they also
occupy the first places in the historical list of football transfers. The heavyweights of the
Old Continent have sold and bought many players in search of sporting and monetary
results in recent years, as shown by the biggest football transfers.
Neymar from Barcelona to PSG
- 222 million euros (260 million dollars). The Brazilian star traded Barcelona for Paris to
the surprise of many, shortly after completing a dream season winning all possible titles in
a powerful attack formed alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. Neymar's transfer to PSG
shattered the previous record (by almost double) and has stood for several years as the
largest transaction in the history of professional football.
Kylian Mbappe from Monaco to PSG
- 145m euros (174m dollars). PSG saw the potential of the adolescent wonder who
played for Monaco and took him away after a significant investment at the time to enjoy it
and justify the transaction almost immediately. The French striker has already won the
World Cup with his national team and has collected a large number of individual trophies
(such as Golden Boy 2017, FIFA World Cup Best Young Player, or French Player of the
Year). At 22 years old, he is the most valuable player in the world.
Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barcelona
- 135m euros (162m dollars). After losing Neymar, FC Barcelona mobilized to acquire the
services of Philippe Coutinho, in another of the largest transactions in football history. The
Brazilian attacker did not manage to adapt perfectly to the game of the Spanish giant and
his production declined greatly compared to what was done in the Premier in previous
seasons. After a loan to Bayern Munich without much success, the 27-year-old continues to
try to reconnect with his best moments.
Joao Felix from Porto to Atletico de Madrid
- 127m euros (152m dollars). After several years competing at the highest national and
international level doing a lot with modest investments, Atletico de Madrid showed their
economic muscle by paying an unusually high figure for the 19-year-old Portuguese
sensation. With just one season spent with Benfica, the young forward became one of the
most expensive signings in history.
Antoine Griezmann from Atletico to Barcelona
- 120m euros (143m dollars). In another financial effort to accompany Messi in the best
way, Barcelona once again pulled out their wallet in a big way to bring in one of the best
strikers in the Spanish La Liga. The French forward arrived with great expectations after
being crowned world champion with Les Bleus and several successful seasons with Atletico.
Biggest football transfers outside of Europe
- Beyond the transactions carried out by European teams, outside of UEFA there have also
been significant investments by top-level footballers. The China Super League has been the
preferred destination for prominent players who have reached out to teams that have
spent tens of millions to bolster their rosters as they make a significant marketing impact
on their operations.
- Oscar from Chelsea to Shanghai Port (2017) – 60 million euros
- Hulk from Zenit to Shanghai Port (2016) – 55.8m
- Alex Teixeira from Shakhtar to Jiangsu (2016) – 50m
- Paulinho from Barcelona to Guangzhou FC (2019) – 42m
- Jackson Martinez from Atletico to Guangzhou FC (2016) – 42m
Players with the highest combined transfer fees
- Depending on the circumstances and the type of management of his agents, a professional
footballer may be the subject of multiple transfers throughout his career. Below we see the
list of players who have accumulated the most money in their combined transfers. That is,
adding all the transfers made in his career.
- Neymar – Total 310 million euros
- Cristiano Ronaldo – 230m
- Romelu Lukaku – 212m
- Angel Di Maria – 179m
- Antoine Griezmann – 174m
Money spent on transfer by clubs
Before PSG emerged as the world's biggest spender, Real Madrid had an important streak
of record transfers in the 2000s, with the arrival of Luis Figo, Zidane, Kaka, Cristiano, and
Gareth Bale. Today, in addition to PSG and Barcelona, teams such as Manchester United,
Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus, Inter, and Bayern Munich, are the great
animators of the markets with powerful investments from time to time.
Biggest transfer profits in football history
ust as there are big spenders, there are also clubs that make the best transactions in
terms of profits. Beyond the aforementioned transfers that left great profits for the sellers
like Barcelona, Liverpool, or Atletico, the margin achieved by not-so-powerful clubs such as
Leicester, Southampton, Lille, Monaco, or Wolfsburg in various movements of purchase and
subsequent sale of players stands out.