The real top 10 most expensive players of all time

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Football News

When Gonzalo Higuain completed his sensational £75 million move from Napoli to Juventus, eyebrows were raised when it was pointed out that it was the third most expensive transfer in football history.

While there’s no doubting that the Argentine striker is top quality, it’s hard to agree with the fact that he should command the third biggest fee ever.

However, what’s never taken into account when talking about the most expensive transfers is inflation. Well, that is until now.


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You often hear people asking: “I wonder how much he would cost in today’s market,” when talking about a retired superstar.

How much would Zinedine Zidane cost? How much would Kaka cost? How much would Hernan Crespo cost? Well, we’ve crunched the numbers and worked out the real top 10 transfers of all-time, considering inflation.

As a result, Higuain no longer finds himself in the top-three all-time transfers. Take a look at the top 10 below:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009
Transfer fee: £80m
Today’s valuation: £96.3m

Ronaldo's move to Madrid broke the world record transfer fee and it's fair to say the £80m the Bernabeu club splashed out on him was well worth it. Since his move in 2009, the Portugese superstar has scored 364 goals in 348 appearances. 

2. Gareth Bale

Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013
Transfer fee: £86m
Today’s valuation: £91.6m

Bale's move to Madrid in 2013 may currently be the record transfer fee but, with inflation taken into account, the Welshman has to settle for second place. His £86m record fee may soon be smashed by a certain Paul Pogba, though.

3. Neymar

Santos to Barcelona in 2013
Transfer fee: £71.5m
Today’s valuation: £76.2m

Neymar's move to Barcelona may have needed investigating but he became a club-record signing for the Catalans back in 2013. Still only 24, the Brazilian has plenty of years to pay back his huge fee.

4. Gonzalo Higuain

Napoli to Juventus in 2016
Transfer fee: £75m
Today’s valuation: £75m

Higuain has become the most hated fan in Naples after switching Napoli for Juventus for an astonishing £75m. A ridiculous amount for a striker that turns 29 this year.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Inter to Barcelona in 2009
Transfer fee: £59m
Today’s valuation: £71m

Manchester United may have signed Ibrahimovic on a free transfer this summer but, seven years ago, Barcelona shelled out £59m for the Swede. Unfortunately, he only lasted one season.

6. Zinedine Zidane

Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001
Transfer fee: £46.6m
Today’s valuation: £70.8m

Zidane may be the man in charge of Real Madrid's pursestrings these days, but he once cost the club a massive £46.6 back in 2001. 15 years on and that equates to more than £70m.

7. Hernan Crespo

Parma to Lazio in 2000
Transfer fee: £44.6m
Today’s valuation: £69.8m

Premier League fans may only know Crespo from his two spells at Chelsea, but back in 2000, Lazio paid £44.6m for him. 16 years on and inflation suggests that Crespo would have been worth almost £70m in today's money.

8. Kaka

AC Milan to Real Madrid in 2009
Transfer fee: £56m
Today’s valuation: £67.4m

Kaka is the last player other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or and that is represented in the amount Madrid paid for him seven years ago.

9. Luis Suarez

Liverpool to Barcelona 2014
Transfer fee: £65m
Today’s valuation: £67.2m

Liverpool fans may feel a little hard done by that they only received £65m for Suarez when Higuain goes for £10m more just two years later. That's inflation for you.

10. James Rodriguez

AS Monaco to Real Madrid 2014
Transfer fee: £63m
Today's valuation: £65.2m

Rodriguez hasn't exactly paid back his hefty transfer fee in the previous two seasons with doubts over his future. The Colombian is likely to only get one more season under Zidane to impress.

So, there we have it. Neymar is actually the third most expensive player of all-time, not Higuain while Ronaldo replaces Madrid teammate Bale at number one - something he will no doubt be delighted with.

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James Rodriguez
Zinedine Zidane
Gareth Bale
Manchester United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
La Liga
UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Gonzalo Higuain

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