Messi, Haaland, Neymar: The 10 players with highest transfer values in history

  • Kobe Tong
PSG's Neymar and Mbappe.

Kylian Mbappe is the most valuable male footballer in history.

While the prize for the most expensive player of all time might go to his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar, it’s the French wonderkid who has been estimated to have the highest ever transfer value.

At least, that’s according to Transfermarkt, who are the world leaders in calculating the worth of a football player in the transfer market with complex updates and adjustments taking place every few months.

Transfer values

With everything from performance, age, reputation, injury susceptibility and demand taken into consideration, it’s one of the most respected and detailed models on how much players are worth.

Naturally, that doesn’t mean that the players necessarily go for their valuation with contract lengths and a buying club potentially paying over the odds seeing price tags differ from predicted worth.

But that doesn’t make its data any lesser valuable – pun intended – with Mbappe having been unveiled as the player in Transfermarkt’s history to have been awarded with the highest estimation.

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Let’s start easy: who’s this iconic character?

Players with the highest transfer values ever

That’s because the data gurus revealed their ‘record market values of all-time’ on Instagram this week and Mbappe led the way with an eye-watering valuation of €200 million during the 2018/19 season.

Now, that’s all well and good, but which players have come closest to watching the World Cup winner’s head-spinning status as the most valuable footballer of all time?

Well, fear not because Transfermarkt showcased the full top ten in what makes for a surprising read with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema all absent.

In fact, there are some players on the list who you might never have expected to be rubbing shoulders with Mbappe, so be sure to check out the 10 most valuable players in history below:

10. Harry Kane (2017/18) – €150 million

Soccer Football – Premier League – Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur – Selhurst Park, London, Britain – February 25, 2018 Tottenham’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

9. Eden Hazard (2018/19) – €150 million

8. Antoine Griezmann (2018/19) – €150 million

7. Philippe Coutinho (2018/19) – €150 million

6. Sadio Mane (2019/20) – €150 million

5. Erling Haaland (2021/22) – €150 million

Haaland scores for Dortmund.
Soccer Football – DFB Cup – Round of 16 – FC St. Pauli v Borussia Dortmund – Millerntor-Stadion, Hamburg, Germany – January 18, 2022 Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFB REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

4. Raheem Sterling (2019/20) – €160 million

3. Lionel Messi (2017/18) – €180 million

2. Neymar (2017/18) – €180 million

  1. Kylian Mbappe (2018/19) – €180 million
Neymar and Mbappe celebrate.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group Stage – Group C – Paris St Germain v Liverpool – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – November 28, 2018 Paris St Germain’s Neymar celebrates scoring their second goal with Kylian Mbappe REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Note: Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah also reached valuations of €150 million during the 2017/18 season

Some surprising results

Surprised to see Sterling, Griezmann and Coutinho there, aren’t you?

Now, as head-scratching as those placements might seem now, it made a lot of sense at the time with Coutinho and Griezmann either having moved or been touted for some of the biggest transfer fees in history.

And lest we forget just how unstoppable Sterling was going into the 2019/20 season having established himself as the world’s finest goalscoring winger with 23 and 25 strikes in the previous two campaigns.

Naturally, that doesn’t make any of those players better than Ronaldo, Benzema and Lewandowski, but they also had comparative youth on their side, which can have a massive impact on transfer values.

Griezmann and Coutinho at Barcelona.
Soccer Football – La Liga Santander – FC Barcelona v Osasuna – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – November 29, 2020 FC Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring their third goal with Antoine Griezmann REUTERS/Albert Gea

Well, unless you’re Messi, that is, because the fact he commanded a monstrous valuation of €180 million when he’d just blown out 30 candles on his birthday cake is nothing short of superhuman.

However, it’s all pittance and spare change compared to the dizzying valuations commanded by Mbappe, who is both the highest-valued player in history and the highest-valued player right now.

And to think that Real Madrid could be able to sign the €160.00-million-rated phenomena for absolutely nothing. Madness.

Manchester City sign Erling Haaland (Football Terrace)

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