The most expensive football players in history

The most expensive football players in history 

Photo: Getty Images

Paul Pogba may well be the most expensive player in the world, but he still has some way to go to match the amount of money that has been forked out on these players over the course of their careers 

Paul Pogba is officially the most expensive football player in the world after Manchester United dug into their bag of gold to buy the French international for €105 million from Juventus.  This eye-watering amount could increase to as much as €120 million depending on bonuses and agent fees. The figure surpasses the €101m Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Wales forward Gareth Bale in 2013 and it dwarfs the €94m the White Ballet dished out for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. 

But when it comes to total transfer fees paid, these players are nowhere near the top. There are certain stars out there who continue to command breath-taking fees every few seasons. Call them mercenaries, call them geniuses, or just call their agent to find out when they are available next. 

Read on to find out:

  • The 15 most expensive players in transfer history 
  • Why Robbie Keane is actually worth more than Neymar Jr. 
  • Why defenders just don’t bring in the dosh 

15. Robbie Keane

© YouTube // Norvigia7

Current Club:  Los Angeles Galaxy

Nationality: Irish

Total Fees Paid: €103.8m

Most Expensive Transfer: €24m - Tottenham to Liverpool (2008) 

Read more

14. Kevin de Bruyne

© YouTube // Kevidii FC

Current Club: Manchester City

Nationality: Belgian 

Total Fees Paid: €104.4m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €74m - Wolfsburg to Manchester City (2015) 

13. Paul Pogba

© YouTube // EdsonVideoHD

Current Club: Manchester United

Nationality: French

Total Fees Paid: €105m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €105m - Juventus to Manchester United (2016) 

12. Cristiano Ronaldo

© YouTube // Peradze

Current Club: Real Madrid

Nationality: Portuguese

Total Fees Paid: €111.5m

Most Expensive Transfer: €94m - Manchester United to Real Madrid (2009)

11. David Luiz

© Youtube // Shpendi10CFC

Current Club: Chelsea FC

Nationality: Brazilian

Total Fees Paid: €113.5m

Most Expensive Transfer: €49,5m - Chelsea FC to Paris St. Germain (2014)

10. Gareth Bale

© YouTube // Football HD

Current Club: Real Madrid

Nationality: Welsh

Total Fees Paid: €115.7m

Most Expensive Transfer: €101m - Tottenham to Real Madrid (2013)

Read more

9. Juan Sebastián Verón

© YouTube // Sport is the Answer

Current Club: Retired 

Nationality: Argentinian

Total Fees Paid: €116m

Most Expensive Transfer: €42.6m - Lazio to Manchester United (2001)

8. Luis Suárez

© YouTube // Peradze

Current Club: Barcelona

Nationality: Uruguayan

Total Fees Paid: €116.52m

Most Expensive Transfer: €81.72m - Liverpool to Barcelona (2014) 

7. Hernán Crespo

© YouTube // Cr7 Ronaldo

Current Club: Retired

Nationality: Argentinian

Total Fees Paid: €119.27m

Most Expensive Transfer: €55m - Parma to Lazio (2000) 

6. Nicolas Anelka

© YouTube // William Thommes

Current Club: Retired

Nationality: French

Total Fees Paid: €127.36m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €35m - Arsenal to Real Madrid (1999) 

5. James Rodríguez

© YouTube // FibraFootballVideos

Current Club: Real Madrid

Nationality: Colombian

Total Fees Paid: €127.63m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €75m - AS Monaco to Real Madrid (2014) 

Read more

4. Hulk

© YouTube // olivier ferreira

Current Club: Shanghai SIPG

Nationality: Brazilian

Total Fees Paid: €129.8m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €55.8m - Zenit St. Petersburg to Shanghai SIPG (2016) 


3. Gonzalo Higuaín

© YouTube // rom7ooo

Current Club: Juventus

Nationality: Argentinian

Total Fees Paid: €141m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €90m - SSC Napoli to Juventus Turin (2016) 

2. Zlatan Ibrahimović

© YouTube // FEEL MY STYLE

Current Club: Manchester United

Nationality: Swedish

Total Fees Paid: €169.1m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €69.5m - Inter to Barcelona (2009) 


1. Ángel Di María

© YouTube // Moody SZ

Current Club: Paris St. Germain

Nationality: Argentinian

Total Fees Paid: €179m 

Most Expensive Transfer: €75m - Real Madrid to Manchester United (2014)

Fun Facts

  • There are 4 Argentinians in the top 10
  • South Americans seem to be the most sought-after players in the world, with 7 in the top ten
  • He may not have been at the biggest clubs, but Darren Bent comes in at 46th in the list, just behind Ronaldinho, costing over €55m in his career
  • The first 31 players are all attack-minded. The first defender to appear in the top 100 is David Luiz in 32nd (total transfers of €75m)
  • Émerson (37th), Mario Balotelli (40th) and Alberto Gilardino (41st) are all above Luis Figo
  • Lionel Messi doesn’t even appear in the list, his current transfer revenue sits at €0, due to the fact that he has never switched clubs (yet)
  • Other surprising entries: Craig Bellamy (52nd tied with Sergio Aguero), Andy Carroll (58th) and Peter Crouch (61st). 
Read more
08 2016 The Red Bulletin

Next story