10 legendary teams that were 'destroyed by the transfer market'

Porto shocked the world by winning the 2004 Champions League

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

Monaco's brilliant team from 2016/17

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 Ajax

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

Dortmund with the Champions League trophy

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

Marseille with the Champions League trophy

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

Diego Simeone's Lazio

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

Porto's 2004 Champions League winners

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

Rivaldo & Roberto Carlos

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

Ajax's 1995 Champions League winners

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 Belgrade with the 1991 Champions League trophy

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

Van Basten in action

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...

Cruyff with Barcelona

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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