Long gone are the days when you looked at football from a perspective of just managers and players, tactics, strategies and formations, it is as much about the money as it is about the game today. Every aspect of what a club does is under immense scrutiny by the fans, the broad members, the share-holders, the media and the viewers across the globe.
Almost every football fan has an opinion today and rightly so. Be it a pundit, an ex-club player or the fans themselves taking it upon themselves to make their opinions heard. One bad season and they call for new players, big-name transfers and demand money to be spent to correct the flaws.
With such pressure from every possible facet, success is no longer a luxury that they can celebrate, it has become the very basic necessity in today’s world. Add to that, the expectations of new investors/owners who are pumping in huge sums of money which only stressed further on the need for good results.
In such times, when managers are being swapped and changed around in what seems like a game of musical chairs, managers themselves feel to need to spend big money and get in their desired targets rather than facing the wrath of owners, fans and the media about not fixing the issue.
All this results in splashing of cash in ways that was unimaginable just over half a decade ago. An average increase of around £20-30 million is clearly evident in the transfer fees taking into consideration every factor including the inflation and the pumping in of foreign money into football.
As Spiderman would probably say “With big money signings, comes big responsibility” and that’s exactly what the names listed below and their teams had to endure.
Here’s a team of 11, consisting of the costliest transfer fees paid for a player in each position, followed by a very costly substitutes bench -
12 Goalkeeper – Gianluigi Buffon -£32.6 million (Parma to Juventus)
The Italian World Cup winner holds the record for the world’s most expensive transfer for a goalkeeper. Nicknamed ‘Gigi’, renowned for his superlative shot-stopping abilities, Buffon was signed by Italian giants Juventus from rivals Parma for a fee of £32.6million in 2001.
The Italian completely repaid the faith shown in him by the Turin side by taking the club to their highest summits and sticking with them in their lowest points which even saw most top players leave the club after being demoted to Seria B following the ‘Calciopoli scandal’.
11 Right Back - Dani Alves - £28.5 million (Sevilla to Barcelona)
Brazilians are known to produce footballers famous for their flair and charisma. Dani Alves possessed both those attributed in abundance. His move from Sevilla to Barcelona cost the Catalonian side £23 million upfront, with further add-ons based on performances.
The South American has already won 5 La Liga titles and 4 UEFA Champions league titles with the Spanish Giants and has proved to be worth every penny spent on him.
10 Centerbacks - Thiago Silva - £35 million (Milan to PSG)
Brazil’s ability to produce defenders, probably, comes nowhere close to their attacking talent but when they produce a good defender it is a certainty that he would come costly and Thiago Silva is no exception to that rule.
Silva moved to French giants Paris Saint-Germain from Italian giants AC Milan for £35 million after a remarkable series of events. Having signed a new contract with AC Milan on July 2nd, 2012, Silva signed for PSG just 12 days later in what proved to be a transfer tactic by Milan to get their quoted price of £35 million from the French Side. The Brazilian has won 3 consecutive Ligue 1 titles with PSG and is leading the French side as the club captain.
9 David Luiz -£37 Million (Chelsea to PSG)
Yet another Brazilian, another defender and yet another World Record transfer was witnessed involving French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain as this time they bought the services of David Luiz from English giants Chelsea at a record fee for a defender of £37 Million (£50 million).
On 13th June, 2014, The UEFA Champions League and Europa League winner with Chelsea, signed with the Ligue 1 Champions and has since then already won 4 titles with PSG and has a surprising inclusion in the FIFA World Team of the Year at the 2014 Ballon d'Or awards.
8 Left back – Luke Shaw - £30 Million (Southampton to Manchester United)
A 19-year-old, Luke Shaw, was involved in a bidding war between Manchester United and rivals Chelsea, as both the clubs wanted to fill the recently vacated left-back position at their respective clubs. Being an Englishman, it was certain that the youth academy product from Southampton would be an expensive purchase.
Finally, on 27 June 2014, Luke Shaw decided to join the Red Devils and in the process became the most expensive teenager in the world of football.
7 Midfielders - Ricardo Kaka - £56.1 million (AC Milan to Real Madrid, 2009)
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite or commonly known as ‘Kaka’ was one of the ‘Galatico’ signing by then newly appointed Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. The Brazilian was a crowd favorite at his previous club AC Milan where he had won the Seria A as well the UEFA Champions League. The reasons for the move were stated as being economic in nature and that Milan’s poor financial condition would not allow them to lose out on a potential €70 million which would help them immensely.
Although, the move did not result to be the most fruitful for either Kaka or Real Madrid, but his transfer still remains in the top 10 most expensive transfers ever witnessed in football till date.
6 Angel di Maria - £59.7 Million (Real Madrid to Manchester United)
A transfer that lasted less than 12 months, saw Manchester United break the bank and sign Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria for a British record fee of £59.7 Million. The record signing though moved to French Champions PSG in August 2015 after few on and off-field incidents causing issues to the player and his family living in England.
Di Maria did contribute with 11 assists and 4 goals in his short tenure at the Manchester club but eventually parted ways before the start of the 2015-16 season.
5 James Rodriguez - £63 Million (Monaco to Real Madrid)
James Rodriguez had already caught the eye of the football world when AS Monaco had captured his signature from FC Porto for a staggering fee of £38.5 million in 2013. Having showcased his skill in the 2014 World Cup taking Colombia a long way into the tournament and also winning the Goal of the Tournament, James caught the eye of Spanish Giants Real Madrid who wasted no time in snapping up the Colombian for a price of £63 Million making him the costliest Colombian surpassing countryman Radamel Falcao in the process.
4 Forwards - Luis Suarez - £75 Million (Liverpool to Barcelona)
The love-hate relationship between Luis Suarez and some of the football fans and pundits was intense over in England. As talented as the Uruguayan striker was, he was never far away from a new controversy. The Liverpool man finally made a conscious decision to move over to Spain and start afresh with Barcelona putting up the South American record fee for the striker worth £75 Million in 2014.
The striker seems to have finally settled down in his new kingdom as he won the treble consisting of a La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions league in his very first season with the Catalonian side.
3 Cristiano Ronaldo - £80 million (Manchester Utd to Real Madrid)
Arguably, the greatest player of this generation, Cristiano Ronaldo fulfilled his childhood dream of playing for Real Madrid when he completed a then world record transfer of £80 million over from Manchester United. The 3-time Ballon D’or winner has shattered numerous club records at Real Madrid already and at with his astonishing goal-scoring record, the Portuguese is all set to break every remaining club record there is at Real Madrid.
The Portuguese star helped the Los Blancos complete their much awaited ‘La Decima’ in 2014 as he helped the club with their 10th UEFA Champions League title scoring a staggering 17 goals in the competition which is an all-time highest in a single edition of the Champions League.
2 Gareth Bale -£85.3 Million (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid)
From a skinny left-back at Southampton Football club, to a £7 million transfer at Tottenham Hotspur to being the most expensive Footballer in the history of the game, Gareth Bale’s young career has seen unparalleled escalation in term of success and stardom.
The Welsh winger was the hottest property in the transfer window of 2013 after a remarkable season with Tottenham Hotspur which saw him catch the attention of Spanish giants, Real Madrid who bought him for a fee of £85.3 Million.
In his very first season, Gareth Bale won the La Liga as well as the UEFA Champions League completing the ‘La Decima’. Bale also scored in the 110th minute of extra-time in the finals of the Champions League final against Spanish Rivals Atletico Madrid helping Real Madrid eventually win 4-1 at the end of extra time.
Manuel Neuer – £19m Million (Schalke to Bayern Munich)
The German goal-keeper, Manuel Neuer, is the 2nd most expensive goal-keeper after Buffon. He moved for £19m million from Schalke 04 to Bayern Munich.
Rio Ferdinand - £30 Million (Leeds United to Manchester United)
The then record transfer fee for the most expensive defender in the world saw Rio Ferdinand move from Leeds United to rivals Manchester United in 2002, for a move costing the Manchester side around £30 Million.
Eliaquim Mangala - £32 Million (FC Porto to Manchester City)
Manchester United’s cross-town rivals, Manchester City have known to spend their fair share of money on expensive signings as they splashed out £32 Million for center-back Mangala’s services from FC Porto.
Zinedine Zidane - £46 million (Juventus to Real Madrid)
Arguably, one of the greatest footballers to have graced the game, Zinedine Zidane was the costliest transfer ever back in 2001 when he joined Real Madrid from Turin side Juventus.
Raheem Sterling £49 million (Liverpool to Manchester City)
The latest Englishman to cause few feather’s to ruffle was Raheem Sterling and his big-money signing with Manchester City from Merseyside club Liverpool for a fee of £49 million.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - £59 Million (Inter Milan to Barcelona)
Not many teams exist where you put Swedish sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench, but even a £59 Million move from Inter Milan to Barcelona could only get him a place on the bench in this team.
Neymar - £71.47 Million (Santos to Barcelona)
The Brazilian sensation, Neymar is one of the most exciting prospects in world football today and Barcelona was quick to put down the £71.47 Million at Brazilian side Santos to acquire his services in 2013.