Andreas Christensen recently became a Barcelona player and has had a whopping £438 million release clause inserted into his contract.
It’s testament to how barmy the game has gone in recent years that, in order for a club to keep hold of their most prized assets, clubs feel the need to insert these unholy clauses into player’s contracts to ensure rivals won’t swoop in and steal their potential star.
I mean, Christensen’s release clause is worth nearly half a billion but it’s still not enough to get him into this list of football’s top 10 biggest release clauses.
Football’s 10 biggest release clauses
10. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) – £598m
Real Madrid’s latest sensation, it’s understandable Los Blancos want to protect the rights to their 21-year-old star.
The Brazilian enjoyed a scintillating 2021 campaign, scoring the winning goal to clinch the Champions League final and he was even ranked as South America’s best footballer in a recent article we covered from FourFourTwo.
According to the Sun, his contract runs till 2026 and he takes home roughly £8.6 million per year.
=7. Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) – £641m
As you’ll see from this list, Florentino Perez absolutely loves to make sure his players are untouchable by slapping enormous tags on their future potential.
With Diaz, things probably haven’t worked out as anticipated. He’s spent the last two seasons on loan at AC Milan and has flattered to deceive as of yet in his career.
Madrid will likely look to off-load the youngster and recoup the £16 million spent on him.
=7. Luka Modric (Real Madrid) – £641m
=7. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) – £641m
The Uruguayan has slowly built a name for himself as one of the best midfielders currently at large in European football.
He’s a manager’s dream given he can effectively operate as a defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, right-back or on the right-wing for good measure.
Understandably, Madrid recognise his value and his existing contract keeps him at the club until 2027.
6. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/Barcelona) – £685m
You can see what Barcelona were thinking when they whacked this enormous price tag on Griezmann after they signed him from Atletico for £108 million in 2019.
He was one of Europe’s best back then, but his reputation has declined so much since that despite his staggering release clause, Barcelona have given his former club the option to buy him back permanently for a mere £34 million – shocking.
Who knows if they’ll bother, although we’re sure Simeone took great pleasure in receiving him back on loan for the last campaign.
5. David Alaba (Real Madrid) – £726m
Madrid picked up Alaba on a free in 2021 at the expense of his former club Bayern.
He’s comfortably been one of the best defenders in the world for the past decade or so, and therefore in typical Perez fashion, the Spaniard inserted an eye-watering release clause worth nearly three quarters of a billion.
=1. Ronald Araujo (Barcelona) – £846m
The first of our €1 billion euro boys, Barcelona reportedly wanted to stave off interest from Premier League parties, including Liverpool, Man City and Man United.
It’s fair to say they’ve done that in resounding fashion…
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=1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – £846m
Madrid’s talisman and heavy favourite for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, Benzema’s contract runs through until 2023 in the Spanish capital.
=1. Ansu Fati (Barcelona) – £846m
Fati suffered with major injuries throughout the 2021/2022 season which means he’s largely been out of public eye, but don’t sleep on this young La Masia academy graduate.
If he can get fit and firing once again, he could be a star of the future for Barcelona alongside fellow teammates Pedri and Gavi.
=1. Pedri (Barcelona) – £846m
And speaking of Pedri, he makes up the fourth and final €1 billion euro player – although you’d imagine it won’t be long until other stars surpass that outlandish figure at this rate.
Interestingly, every single player on this list is either contracted to Real Madrid or Barcelona, which, springs quite a surprise when you consider the Premier League dominance we so often talk about.
Then again, maybe that’s exactly what football’s traditional powerhouses are attempting to defend against.
La Liga quiz: Can you name these players from the early 2000’s?