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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Top Ten Transfer Deals in the History of World Football

Player transfer is one of the most important things in club football as a team’s success may depend on a manager’s ability to choice correct players for his team whom, he thinks, suitable for the style of football that his team sticks to. Football world saw many high-profile transfers with huge amount of money involved in the process. Here, in this article, I am going to write about top ten most expensive transfer deals in the history of world football. Well, before letting you go though the article, I would like to inform you that the amounts paid for the deals may vary in different currencies. Moreover, the amounts may not be exact in all cases because some transfer deals like Rio Ferdinand’s transfer deal involved performance related clauses. You can share your opinion about the transfer deals with us in the comment section of the article.

Zinedine Zidane (from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001)

This former French great does not need any introduction to the football fans in the world. He is best known for leading France to win the 1998 world cup. Zinedine Zidane is one of the two players who won the FIFA World Player of the Year award on 3 occasions in 1998, 2000, 2003. Besides, Zidane also won the European Footballer of the Year award in 1998 when he was in Italian club Juventus. The French super star started his career at lesser known French club AS Cannes. After that Zinedine Zidane represented many big clubs including French side Girondins Bordeaux, Italian giant Juventus, Spanish club Real Madrid with lots of success.

Real Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane for a record transfer deal worth €76 million (£ 46.0 million) from Italian club Juventus in 2001, breaking the previous season’s record signing deal of € 58.5 million (£ 38.7 million) which Real Madrid spent to recruit Luis Figo from cross-town rivals Barcelona. The transfer deal created a huge buzz in the football world and Zidane once again made history becoming the most expensive footballer in the world. Well, Real Madrid was also paid with immediate dividend by this creative midfielder who guided Real Madrid to win the UEFA Champions League 2001-02. During his 5 year stay at the Spanish club, Zidane helped Real Madrid to win the Spanish La Liga title in 2002-03 season and Spanish Super Cup on two occasions in 2001, 2003. In 2002, Real Madrid won European Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup. Zinedine Zidane ended his club career at Real Madrid in 2006. Zinedine Zidane was placed among the players listed in FIFA 100.

Luis Figo (from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000)

There is no doubt, Zinedine Zidane’s record transfer deal was one of the biggest deals made ever in football, but the most controversial and much talked-about transfer deal was that of Luis Figo in which Real Madrid signed this Portuguese legend for the then record fee of € 58.5 million (£ 38.7 million) from their arch-rivals Barcelona in 2000. His move to rival Real Madrid stirred up the traditional rivalry between the two clubs. After spending five successful seasons at Barcelona, Figo’s move to Real Madrid caused huge anger among the Barcelona fans. Later on, whenever Luis Figo played at Nou Camp, the home ground of Barcelona, he was booed off by the Barcelona fans. At Real Madrid, Figo won two Spanish La Liga titles in 2000-01, 2002-03, and the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup titles in 2002. He was also awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2001. Lusi Figo also won the European Footballer of the Year award in 2000.

Lusi Figo is considered to be one of the two greatest ever footballers Portugal has ever produced alongside Eusébio. Starting his career at Portuguese giant Sporting CP, the midfielder played at Barcelona and Real Madrid with sheer success. In fact, he is one of those few players who represented both Barcelona and Real Madrid successfully. He is now playing for Italian club Inter Milan. Figo retired from international area at the end of the 2006 world cup where he captained Portugal and led to reach the semi final. In 132 appearances, Luis Figo scored 32 goals for Portugal.

Hernan Crespo (from Parma to Lazio in 2000)

This Argentine footballer was signed by Italian club S.S. Lazio for the then record transfer fee £35,500,000 (€ 53.6 million) from Parma in 2000. Having seen his excellent form with Parma, Lazio was keen to sign Hernan Crespo for such a huge amount. The Argentine striker joined Parma in 1996 and during his four year stint at the club, Crespo helped Parma to win a number of titles including their UEFA Cup triumph in 1999. In the UEFA Cup final, Crespo scored the first goal in their 3-0 victory in the UEFA Cup final over Olympique de Marseille.

Hernan Crespo spent only two seasons at Lazio, but he was very successful at the club. In his first season at Lazio, he was the highest scorer in Serie A with 26 goals. Though Lazio could not win any notable title during his two year stay at the club, Crespo’s individual performance was excellent. Hernan Crespo started his career at Argentine club River Plate and later on, he played for many big European clubs including Parma, Lazio, Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter Milan where he is current playing. Playing 65 matches, Hernan Crespo scored 34 goals for Argentina in his international career.

Gianluigi Buffon (from Parma to Juventus in 2001)

Italy’s world cup winning goal keeper, who is considered to be today’s best goal keeper in the world, is no other than Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon is still most expensive goalkeeper in the world. Juventus signed this Italian star in 2001 from Parma for a deal worth €52 million (£ 38.7 or € 49.2 million according to one source), a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. Though he was also linked with AS Roma at that time, he signed the deal with Juventus in the end when A.S. Roma signed Atalanta B.C. keeper Ivan Pelizzoli.

Gianluigi Buffon has already become one of the legends of Italy and Juventus. Buffon is still playing for Juventus since joining the club in 2001. Since 1997, he has been representing Italy with sheer success. Buffon was an integral part of Italy’s 2006 world cup winning team. With Juventus, Buffon achieved lots of team as well as individual success. He led Juventus to win two Italian Serie A titles in 2001-02, 2002-03 and two Italian Super Cup titles in 2002, 2003. In 2003, he won the UEFA Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper awards. Buffon was also named in the FIFA 100 and won the European Footballer of the Year (Silver Ball) in 2005. In 2006 world cup, Buffon was awarded the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Gianluigi Buffon achieved several other goalkeeping awards.

Robinho (from Real Madrid to Manchester City 2008)

Born on 25 January 1984 in Sao Vicente, Sao Paulo, Brazil as Robson de Souza, the Brazilian striker is better known as Robinho. The 24-year-old Brazilian is currently playing for English club Manchester City. Following City’s Arab takeover, Manchester City was in a spending spree during 2008 Summer transfer window which saw many star players joining the club and Robinho was the most special signing for the club. On the final day of the 2008 Summer transfer window, the day City’s ownership was handed over to Arab investment company Abu Dhabi United Group, Robinho was signed up for a deal worth €42.5m or £32.5m (another source say £32.5 or € 49.0 million) from Real Madrid, even though the Brazilian striker was linked with a move to Chelsea and was keen to join Chelsea in order to play under his former coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Robinho has also become the highest paid football player in the world as City pays him £160,000 per week.

Robinho did not take much time to prove his mettle at his new club where he has been in an excellent form, scoring pretty regularly, despite Manchester City seeing less success due to lack of strength in its defense. Robinho started his club football career at Brazilian giant Santos with whom he won two Brazilian league titles in 2002, 2004, before joining Real Madrid in 2005. At Real Madrid, Robinho was considered to be a future star, but he was not given enough chances initially. Later on, Robinho became angry when Real Madrid put him in their bid to sign Manchester United star Cristoano Ronaldo. However, Robinho won a number of successes with Real during his 3-year spell at Real Madrid. With Real Madrid, Robinho won two La Liga titles in 2006-07, 2007-08 and one Supercopa de Espana in 2008. Robinho has been playing for Brazil national team since 2003 and took part in the 2006 World Cup with Brazil.

Christian Vieri (from Lazio to Inter Milan in 1999)

Christian Vieri signed with Inter Milan for the then world record transfer fee of £ 32.0 or €48.3 million from Lazio in 1999. His form at Lazio was instrumental behind Inter Milan’s interest in him that time. The Italian striker spent only one season at Lazio, but his 12 goals from 22 appearances in Serie A was enough to attract Inter Milan and its president Massimo Moratti. However, Marcello Lippi, the coach of Inter Milan at that time, also wanted Christian Vieri in his squad following their successful previous association at Juventus.

Christian Vieri also paid Inter Milan with immediate dividend and the striker perhaps spent his best time of his career at Inter Milan. He formed a lethal combination along with Ronaldo in the attacking line up of Inter, even though the two could play together rarely because of injury problems of both the players. Despite Christian Vieri’s excellent form, Inter Milan could not win as many titles as they were expected to because of constant changes in their managerial post. Under coach Hector Cuper, Inter looked very united and went very close to win the Serie A title during 2001-02 season with Christian scoring 22 goals from 25 matches in the league. Next season, Vieri became the highest scorer in Serie A with 23 goals in 24 games. However, his injury sustained during a Champions League quarter final game against Villarreal and the injury forced him out of Inter’s semi final defeat to AC Milan. Many believe that the injury he suffered against Villarreal decreased his sharpness as a striker.

Christian Vieri stayed at Inter Milan till 2005 before moving to cross-town rival AC Milan. Besides Inter Milan, AC Milan and Lazio, he also represented many other notable clubs including Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Fiorentina and Atalanta where he is currently playing. Born in Bologna, Italy, Christian Vieri grew up in Australia as his family moved to Australia after his birth. However, his family again moved back to Italy when he was very young. The popular Italian forward represented Italy national team in 49 matches and scored 23 goals in which 9 came in 1998 and 2002 world cup tournaments, making him the joint highest world cup scorer for Italy along with Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio.

Andriy Shevchenko (from AC Milan to Chelsea in 2006)

Andriy Shevchenko is undoubtedly one of the greatest ever player Ukraine has ever seen. The striker started his career Ukrainian giant Dynamo Kyiv where he spent five successful seasons before joining AC Milan in 1999 for the then record transfer fee of $25 million. Seven-year spell at AC Milan was very successful for the striker as he won Serie A title in 2003-04, UEFA Champions League title in 2003 and UEFA Super Cup title in 2003. Besides, he also won Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup titles in 2002-03 and 2004 respectively with AC Milan. He became the European Player of the Year in 2004 because of his excellent performance at AC Milan.

After Chelsea’s takeover by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the club was in a spending spree to sign star players for big-amount deals. Eventually, Andriy Shevchenko caught the attention of Chelsea and the club signed Shevchenko for a deal worth £ 30.8 or € 46.5 million, breaking the previous English transfer record of Michael Essien. However, his two year stay at Chelsea was not as successful as it was supposed to be, mainly because of his injury and he underwent a hernia operation in 2006-07 season. However, Andriy Shevchenko continued his excellent form in Europe as he was the highest goal scorer of Champions league in 2005-06, a distinction which he achieved two more times earlier, once with Dynamo Kyiv and another time with AC Milan. During Summer 2008, Andriy Shevchenko went back to his former club AC Milan for an undisclosed fee.

Andriy Shevchenko is the all time highest goal scorer for his country Ukraine with 39 goals from 85 appearances. With 61 goals, the prolific striker is also the fourth-highest goal scorer in European club competition, just behind Filippo Inzaghi, Raul and Gerd Muller. He is also the six-time winner of the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year award.

Dimitar Berbatov (from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United in 2008)

The Bulgarian striker currently plays for Manchester United after joining the club under a four-year deal worth £30.75 or € 46.4 million from Tottenham Hotspur during Summer 2008 transfer window. As part of the deal, Fraizer Campbell also joined Tottenham Hotspur on loan for a season. In fact, Dimitar Berbatov’s excellent form at Tottenham led Manchester United towards such a big-amount deal for the striker. During his two-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur, Dimitar Berbatov was in excellent form. He guided Tottenham Hotspur to win the Carling Cup title in 2007-2008.

Earlier, Dimitar Berbatov successfully played for German club Bayer Leverkusen where he spent five seasons. However, the striker started his career at Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia where he spent two seasons before joining Bayer Leverkusen. Dimitar Berbatov, 27, is also an integral part of the current Bulgarian national team. From 64 international appearances, Berbatov scored 41 goals. The striker was named Bulgarian Footballer of the Year four times.

Pavel Nedved (from Lazio to Juventus in 2001)

This great Czech footballer has already become a football legend in Czech Republic and in Juventus. With his excellent shooting and stamina, Pavel Nedved, at 36, still dominates over the opposition defense and appears as a constant threat for the opposition team. Winner of European Footballer of the Year award in 2003, Pavel Nedved started his club football career at Czech giant Sparta Prague in 1992 and spent four successful seasons at the club with three league titles in the country. He then moved to Italian Serie A club Lazio with whom he spent five seasons and won two Italian Cup and two Italian Super Cup titles and Cup Winners’ Cup tournament in 1999.

Pavel Nedved then made a move to Juventus in 2001 for a huge transfer fee of €41 million (£ 30.6 or € 46.2 million according to a source). He was signed to replace outgoing star Zinedine Zidane in the midfield. Pavel Nedved did not take any time to prove his skill and talent at Juventus. He played a big role behind the club’s Serie A triumphs in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2005-06 (though the last two titles were revoked due to the Calciopoli scandal). Nedved’s excellent form led Juventus to reach the Champions League final in 2003 where they were beaten by AC Milan. Though he could not take part in the final, his performance against Real Madrid in the knock out phase of the competition was one of his best performances. Despite Juventus’ relegation to Serie B in the aftermath of the Calciopoli scandal, Pavel Nedved decided to stay at the club and he is still the automatic choice in the Juventus midfield. He represented Czech Republic in 91 matches, scoring 18 goals before retiring from international football in 2006. He became the Czech Player of the Year on five occasions and he was named in the FIFA 100.

Rio Ferdinand (from Leeds United to Manchester United in 2002)

Big amount deal for a defender is really rare in the football world. However, Rio Ferdinand is an exception here. The English centre back is involved in two record-breaking British transfer deal and is currently the most expensive defender in the world. He started professional career at West Ham United where he grew as a professional player during his five year stay at the club. Ferdinand then moved to Leeds United on a £18 million deal, breaking the British transfer record and becoming the most expensive defender in the world.

In 2001, he lost the title to French defender Lilian Thuram, before reacquiring the distinction of most expensive defender once again in 2002 when Manchester United signed him from Leeds United for a deal worth £30 million- £33 million. The amount of the deal is indefinite because the deal involved some performance related clauses. However, reports have it that Manchester United spent £33 million when Leeds United agreed to receive a one-time payment as they desperate for money during their financial crisis. In £33 million, it was reported that Leeds United got £30 million and the rest of the amount was spent to pay the agents’ fees. Rio Ferdinand has now become an automatic choice in the back four of Manchester United with his super performance over the years. During his six year stay, the defender already won three premier league titles in 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08 and three Community Shield titles in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Most importantly, Rio Ferdinand also won the title Champions League in 2007-08 with Manchester United. He was included in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year on four occasions. Rio Ferdinand has also become an automatic choice in the England national team.

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