Football players come and go with extreme ease and more nowadays when this sport is seen more like a business than anything. It’s not a surprise that you see blockbuster moves every summer since players and teams demand more money as the years come by and prices increase, therefore, we have seen how records have been broken in recent seasons and that doesn’t seem to stop any time soon.
Honorable Mention: Romelu Lukaku (from Everton to Manchester United for €84.8m)
10. Neymar (from Santos to Barcelona)
Back in 2014, Barcelona shocked everybody by stealing one of the most promising players in the world, the expected-to-be new ruler of football, Neymar Jr. Following his good tenure with Brazilian side Santos, Neymar signed with the Blaugrana for €88.2 million, becoming one of the highest transfers ever in football history.
Ney went to win several things with Barcelona, including the triplet (Champions League, La Liga, and Copa del Rey) in 2015 with big help from him. Unfortunately, his time in Barcelona didn’t end the best way, as Ney got tired of waiting to become the leader of the squad and demanded to be traded, breaking another record of the transfer in the process.
9. Gonzalo Higuain (from Napoli to Juventus)
When he left Real Madrid, nobody expected Gonzalo Higuain to be relevant again in the football world, but the Argentinian striker told otherwise and became one of the best strikers in European football with Italian side Napoli, earning several individual awards thanks to his scoring capacity and people started to wonder where he would go after that.
That’s when Juventus made his appearances and decided to bought ‘Pipita’, making a huge move, dispatching €90 million for the forward, who didn’t disappoint during his days in Turin. However, Higuain had to leave the club to make room for Cristiano Ronaldo and right now he’s part of AC Milan, trying to take the Rossoneri to the high spots again.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo (from Manchester United to Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s time in Manchester United was magical, he really succeeded with the Red Devils, won everything he could win and became the best footballer in the world in the process, so a move for Real Madrid was in the talks for several years and after a failing attempt to land the Portuguese forward in 2008, Los Blancos pulled off the best move they have had in the last 20 years a year later.
CR7 became the highest-transfer in the world at that time thanks to the €94 million the White House paid for him and he really paid off for the team. Cristiano became the leader and best player in the team, took them to win several trophies such as two La Liga editions, four Champions League, including three consecutive and more, becoming one of the best transfers in Real Madrid history.
7. Gareth Bale (from Tottenham to Real Madrid)
When Neymar and Barcelona were doing big business, Real Madrid was keen to prove they weren’t less and they did exactly the same, signing a prominent player who was set to become a huge star. This time they went to North London to acquire Tottenham Hotspurs’ starlet, Gareth Bale. At that time, Bale became the most expensive transfer in football after Madrid paid out over €100 million for him.
Bale had a decent time at Santiago Bernabeu, helping the team at specific moments that made them won titles, but he could never be able to display all his potential and what people believe he could do on the pitch seeing what he did with Spurs. Now Bale is on his way out the team, trying to get a new team where he can showcase his talents.
6. Ousmane Dembélé (from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona)
Two years ago, a French winger who did whatever he wanted both in Ligue 1 and Bundesliga with Stade Rennais and Borussia Dortmund, respectively, was observed by the entire continent and nobody was sure where he was going to play after the 2016/17 season. Well, Barcelona acted quickly and got the Frenchman for a record number in order to replace Neymar.
The Catalonian team dispatched €105 million for Dembele, something that shocked everybody since he hadn’t proved all his quality and worth yet, but Barcelona didn’t think like that. Albeit his beginnings at Camp Nou weren’t the best, Dembélé stood up and showed why the Blaugrana took a huge risk on him and haven’t stopped delivering every time he got on to the pitch. Right now there are people who say he’s already better than the guy he’s replacing, Neymar Jr.
5. Paul Pogba (from Juventus to Manchester United)
Contrary to what many people think and say, Manchester United’s transfer policy hasn’t been very different from their city neighbors, Manchester City; in fact, the Red Devils are one of the teams that have spent more money in the last years, even surpassing the Citizens and dispatching huge amounts of money for a single player, as they did with Paul Pogba in 2016.
French midfielder Paul Pogba was having a marvelous time in Juventus when everyone started to talk about his departure from La Vecchia Signora after years of nothing but good performances. Manchester United appeared and, curiously, brought a player they have sold for nothing a couple of seasons ago in €120 million, breaking the record of the most expensive signing at that time.
Even though he didn’t start very well at Old Trafford, Pogba knew how to recover his best version and right now is followed by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid; perhaps is a matter of time before we see Paul breaking a transfer record again.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo (from Real Madrid to Juventus)
This could have been a more expensive transfer if it wasn’t for the problems raised in the process. Last year Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t hesitate to show his discontent with Real Madrid’s directives, and more with Los Blanco's chairman, Florentino Perez. After demanding to get better payment and being dismissed, the Portuguese star decided it was time to leave Spain, demanding a transfer.
Juventus showed up and put €100 million on the table (plus €12 million in other fees) and acquired the Portuguese forward, setting a record transfer for a player over his 30s and for an Italian club, as well. CR7 has had a very good first season in Italy, being one of the top scorers in the tournament and taking the club to succeed in Europe, sometimes with him taking all the responsibility.
3. Kylian Mbappe (from Monaco to PSG)
Now we enter a new territory, where teams got paid big time for their most desired assets and we have to start with Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe became one of the most surprising players in Ligue 1 a couple of seasons ago with Monaco and following a magical season with the Monégasques, Paris Saint-Germain bought the French starlet on a record number.
PSG paid €135 million to Monaco in order to take Mbappe under their wing, becoming the third-highest transfer of all time, only surpassed by his teammate Neymar and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho. Ever since that, Mbappe has won anything at a local level with the Parisians, as well as becoming World Cup champions last year, when he took his national side to the maximum glory of football.
2. Philippe Coutinho (from Liverpool to Barcelona)
Philippe Coutinho didn’t have a good start in European football with Inter, but as soon as he landed in Anfield Road, Philippe became a known figure both in England and abroad, gaining the attention of the best clubs in the continent.
After several months of rumors and speculations on whether he would go to Barcelona or not, the Blaugrana pulled off a magical move bought the Brazilian winger/attacking midfielder for €160 million on January 2018, sitting on the second spot of the most expensive transfers in the world.
Sadly for the Magician, he hasn’t been able to replicate the good things he did with Liverpool in Barcelona and now he and his team are trying to relocate him and see if he can recover his old shape.
1. Neymar (from Barcelona to PSG)
Our first spot in this list is also our last, as Neymar shocked everybody when he went from Santos to Barcelona and later went he did the same from Camp Nou to Parc des Princes in 2017. At that time, Le Parisiens broke the record for the most expensive transfer in the world when they disbursed €220 million for the Brazilian.
Neymar hasn’t been able to become the true leader of his team and take it to play big stages and actually succeed in those games. For the last two years, he hasn’t been able to play in the Champions League knockout stages due to injuries, earning the disrespect from both neutral fans and even PSG’s, who have started to doubt on Ney’s commitment to the club.