The transfer market is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of professional football.
In recent years, the entity has evolved at a dramatic rate, but the market was still having a profound impact on the sport way back as far as the 1960s.
The biggest teams in the world often benefit most, flexing their financial muscle and securing the signatures of the best players - often from teams that have experienced unexpected success.
Down the years, a number of sides outside of the established elite that have ruled the roost domestically and continentally for a period have seen their teams decimated in the transfer market.
Sadly for legendary Dutch outfit Ajax, that scenario has unfolded more than once. It's even been happening to an extent over the past few years.
Thanks to Marca, we can provide 10 iconic teams that were 'destroyed by the transfer market'. Poor ol' Ajax crop up three times!
Kylian Mbappe's AS Monaco
Kylian Mbappe - Paris Saint-Germain
Benjamin Mendy - Manchester City
Bernardo Silva - Manchester City
Tiemoue Bakayoko - Chelsea
Fabinho - Liverpool
Joao Moutinho - Wolves
Thomas Lemar - Atletico Madrid
The last team to dethrone Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 were predictably torn apart within a couple of years.
At least they made a decent profit - especially on Mbappe who joined PSG for around €180m!
Johan Cruyff's Ajax
Johan Cruyff - Barcelona
Johan Neeskens - Barcelona
Johnny Rep - Valencia
Horst Blankenburg - Hamburg
Arie Haan - Anderlecht
Cruyff's departure for Catalonia after securing the 1973 European Cup - their third on the trot after success in 1971 and 1972 - sparked something of a mass exodus.
Iconic names in Neeskens and Rep followed their idol out of the club, but Ajax would rebuild in the future.
Borussia Dortmund's 1997 Champions League winners
Paulo Sousa - Inter Milan
Paul Lambert - Celtic
Karl-Heinz Riedle - Liverpool
Stefan Klos - Rangers
Steffen Freund - Tottenham
Jorg Heinrich - Fiorentina
Zinedine Zidane's Juventus side were no match for Dortmund in the 1997 Champions League final, with Lambert marking the Frenchman out of the game.
A landmark day for the German club was quickly followed by the sales of a number of key players. They still enjoyed some success, though, making the semi-final of the Champions League the following season.
Marseille's 1993 Champions League winners
Marcel Desailly - AC Milan
Abedi Pele - Lyon
Alen Boksic - Lazio
Franck Sauzee - Atalanta
Didier Deschamps - Juventus
Rudi Voller - Bayer Leverkusen
Basile Boli - Rangers
Yes, Marseille were kings of Europe back in 1993 and their squad was littered with legends.
But a bribery scandal in 1994 saw them relegated to Ligue 2 and their 1992/93 Ligue 1 title taken away from them. Unsurprisingly, the big names left were quick to leave.
Diego Simeone's Lazio
Alen Boksic - Middlesbrough
Matias Almeyda - Parma
Sergio Conceicao - Parma
Juan Sebastian Veron - Manchester United
Pavel Nedved - Juventus
Marcelo Salas - Juventus
Alessandro Nesta - AC Milan
Hernan Crespo - Inter Milan
Just look at the legendary names that left Lazio between 2000 and 2002. Veron, Nedved, Crespo and Nesta - four players who have attained ICON status on FIFA 2020 - handed the Italian club some very healthy pay days.
But despite acquiring some money through transfer fees, Lazio have failed to mirror the success of that Simeone-infused side which won the Scudetto in 1999/2000.
Jose Mourinho's FC Porto
Ricardo Carvalho - Chelsea
Deco - Barcelona
Paulo Ferreira - Chelsea
Pedro Mendes - Tottenham
Carlos Alberto - Corinthians
Derlei - Dynamo Moscow
It's easy to forget just how good this team was. The year before securing the Champions League, Porto won the UEFA Cup and they also triumphed in the Portuguese league in both 2003 and 2004.
So after two years at the very top, it was no wonder Jose Mourinho and his litany of world-class players were seeking pastures new in the summer of '04.
An impressive Palmeiras side
Mazinho - Valencia
Zinho - Yokohama
Cesar Sampaio - Yokohama
Antonio Carlos Zago - Kashiwa
Roberto Carlos - Inter Milan
Rivaldo - Deportivo la Coruna
Flavio Conceicao - Deportivo la Coruna
Djalminha - Deportivo la Coruna
After impressing against Real Madrid in the 1994 Bernabeu trophy, the rest of the world took notice of a Palmeiras side that had just won back-to-back Brazilian league titles.
Come 1997, the successful core of that team had been moved on and the likes of Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos were lighting up Europe's major leagues.
Ajax's 1995 Champions League winners
Clarence Seedorf - Sampdoria
Edgar Davids - AC Milan
Michael Reiziger - AC Milan
Nwankwo Kanu - Inter Milan
Finidi George - Real Betis
Marc Overmars - Arsenal
Patrick Kluivert - AC Milan
Despite the fact Ajax beat AC Milan in the 1995 final, the Italian side would manage to pry many of the Dutch side's star players away.
At least the likes of Edwin van der Sar and Ronald de Boer would remain with the Amsterdam-based club until 1999.
Red Star Belgrade's 1991 Champions League winners
Robert Prosinecki - Real Madrid
Dejan Savicevic - AC Milan
Vladimir Jugovic - Sampdoria
Darko Pancev - Inter Milan
Sinisa Mihajlovic - AS Roma
Miodrag Belodedici - Valencia
Red Star stunned the world in 1991 when they won the European Cup by beating Marseille in the final, with the Yugoslav side winning on penalties.
Most of their stars remained for one more year after their rousing continental success, but come the summer of 1992, Italy and Spain came calling
Marco van Basten's Ajax
Marco van Basten - AC Milan
Frank Rjikaard - Sporting Lisbon
Sonny Silooy - Racing Paris
We finish with yet another great Ajax team stripped of its core.
Cruyff was the manager this time around, but after seeing future Hall of Famers Rjikaard and Van Basten leave, he himself was off to join Barcelona in 1988 where he would created his fabled 'dream team'.
Imagine what could have been had Ajax had the necessary resources to fully support Cruyff as a player in the early 1970s and as a manager in the late 1980s...
It's a crying shame that these teams were split up, especially after proving to the world just how good they were.
But even securing European football's biggest prize is not enough to devalue the pulling power of the elite.
After all, football is a business as well as a sport!
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