10 most profitable transfers in football history

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Throughout the years, the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City have spent big in their search for success.Here is the list of Players who are most profitable to their respective Clubs.

#10 Kevin de Bruyne – €52m

Kevin de Bruyne’s transfer from and back to the Premier League is right out of a comic book – possibly Chelsea Football Club’s funniest one. The Belgian was always an incredible talent. His performances for Genk earned him a reputation that would be hard to shake off. He had passing, movement off the ball and an uncanny ability to easily go past players.

His move to Chelsea came as no surprise given his rise in his home country but what impressed the market the most were his performances with Werder Bremen – the Bundesliga side he’d gone on loan from London.

The red-haired maestro scored 10 goals in 33 appearances and returned back to Chelsea at the end of the season. Of all the people who admired and eyed de Bruyne, then-Chelsea-manager, Jose Mourinho, saw him as a misfit in his plans and shipped him off to VFL Wolfsburg for just €15m. 

After an unsurprisingly excellent campaign in the Bundesliga – one where he was crowned the Bundesliga Player of the Year – Kevin de Bruyne returned to England with money-sack hoarders, Manchester City for a total sum of €74m.

#9 Edinson Cavani – €52.5m

The Uruguayan has been a hot property ever since he broke out on the scene during his time at Serie A side, Palermo. With pace, strength, an eye for goal and a hairstyle that stood out from anywhere on the field, Cavani was always on the radar of top clubs.

Eventually signing for Serie A giants Napoli, for a fee of €12m, Cavani would go on to score a whopping 78 goals in just a 104 appearances for the Naples club. This form took Cavani from Napoli to the jewel of the France: Paris Saint-Germain.

The Parisians had just been taken over by wealthy Middle-Eastern investors and Cavani was one of the first high-profile arrivals at the Parc des Princes. Cavani cost Paris Saint-Germain a massive €64.5m sealing his name on a list like this for some time to come.

#8 Luis Suarez – €54.5m

Widely regarded as one of the best strikers on the planet right now, Luis Suarez’s move to giants, FC Barcelona, was probably one of the most anticipated and expected moves in the transfer merry-go-round.

The Uruguayan joined Liverpool from Ajax Amsterdam on deadline day of the winter transfer window of 2011 for €26.5m and went on to become a cult hero for the Kop. He scored goals for fun and almost guided Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title only to miss out to Manchester City by a solitary point.

Suarez’s efforts under English manager, Brendan Rodgers, put him on the radar of Barcelona and the world’s top clubs. The Catalans came calling with a mammoth €81m offer and Liverpool couldn’t turn down that kind of offer making his tranfer one of the most profitable ones of all time.

#7 Kaka – €56.75m

Kaka will perhaps go down as one of the most loved footballers on the planet. As brilliant a footballer he was, Kaka was a fair player who never resorted to negative or controversial methods to tilt the results in his favour.

When AC Milan signed the Brazilian for €8.25m, there were many that thought he was worth a lot more but all those doubts and inhibitions were laid to rest when Real Madrid offered one of the then-largest ever bids for a player; a €65m bid from the Los Blancos saw the Brazilian leave Milan for Madrid where he would go on to  – unsurprisingly – win everyone over with his passing and brilliance on the pitch.


#6 Luis Figo – €57.5m

Another Real Madrid star getting on this list, Luis Figo – Barcelona’s sweetheart – broke the hearts of millions by joining the dark side. When he saw that Real Madrid – the Galacticos of world football – wanted to sign him, the Portuguese quickly jumped ship.

With a €60m bid from the Royal Whites, Barcelona gave in thereby partaking in one of the world’s most historic transfers – and possibly one of the last ever between the two clubs.

Figo joined Barcelona for Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon for a lowly fee of €2.5m and his move to Real Madrid cemented Barcelona’s sale on this list given the profit of margin the Catalans made.


#5 Zinedine Zidane – €70m

Perhaps one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the game, Zidane’s transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid broke every transfer record in football history and considering the player that was moving, the price tag was more than justified.

Juventus paid FC Bordeaux a meager €3.5m for the French international and handed him over to Real Madrid for a record-breaking €73.5m that not just shattered any record, it humiliated it and forever placed Zidane on a platform of greatness.



#4 Cristiano Ronaldo – €76.5m

One of the two living legends currently playing in La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo needs no introduction and has more than often grazed the headlines for his prowess in front of goal. A complete footballer unlike anyone we’ve ever seen, Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid was delayed by a year and then completed late in the window simply because of the enormous cash pile Real Madrid were asked to come up with.

The Portuguese captain signed for Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon for €17.5m and spending multiple formative years and winning nearly every possible club-level trophy a Manchester United player can win, decided it was time to move to the biggest club in the world.

Real Madrid were after Ronaldo for a while and finally decided to put in a mammoth €94m bid which Sir Alex and the board at Manchester United decided was enough to let their star leave. And so he did setting yet another record for the same club: Real Madrid.

#3 Gareth Bale – €86.3m

It’s no surprise the top five players on this list play for Real Madrid and with Gareth Bale, the Spanish club, broke yet another milestone completely ridiculing the transfer market.

The mercurial Welshman joined Tottenham Hotspurs from Southampton for €14.7m in the summer of 2007 and sealed his move to La Liga giants Real Madrid on deadline day of the 2013 summer transfer window for a record-beating, eye-popping, mind-blowing €101m.

This was the first time a club had beaten the €100m mark and this was also amongst the first times that a British footballer was worth so much money. Gareth Bale hasn’t been the kind of success Cristiano Ronaldo has been at Real Madrid but with age on his side has the chance to potentially be a pivotal player the world will remember.

#2 Gonazalo Higuain – €90m

Juventus completed the signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli  after activating the striker’s €90 million release clause in the most expensive transfer ever in Italian football.The 28-year-old’s transfer fee is the third largest overall in history, following Real Madrid’s acquisitions of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.



#1 Paul Pogba – €105m

“Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future,” Mourinho said once the deal was official.

“He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is.

“At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years. He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”

Pogba had arrived in Manchester on Monday to finalise the deal, travelling to the club’s Aon Training Complex in Carrington in a red and black Chevrolet at lunchtime.


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