Football, also dubbed as soccer, is inarguably one of the world’s most popular sports: a distinction that ties with that other popular sport, basketball. As such, companies just want to get their products out there by eagerly putting their brands on the teams, consequently generating tons of money. In turn, these wads of cash go to the football players, who are considered a valuable investment.
To keep stakes higher in the industry, football has two regular “transfer windows”, periods including July 1 – September 1 and the entire month of January. Here, a team lagging behind may go around shopping for players in competing clubs. If the conditions are met, they get their desired footballer, but not without a price. Here is a list of thw ten most expensive player "purchases".
10 Radamel Falcao (from Porto to Atletico Madrid) $61.2 Million
From Colombia, Radamel Falcao has single-handedly raised his value dramatically from a mere $5 million dollars to a staggering $61.2 million through impressive game-plays locally and in Europe. During the 2010-2011 season, he beat Jurgen Klinsmann’s previous record of 15 goals with 17 in the Europa League tournament’s 14 games. Though his performance raised curiosities, only Atletico Madrid was willing to pay Porto’s huge asking price. Currently, he continues to bring magic to Spain, and has become the top scorer of the Europa League for the second time in a row.
9 Gaizka Mendieta (from Valencia to Lazio) $62.5 Million
Spaniard Gaizka Mendieta’s expensive transfer to Italian Serie A outfit Lazio could have been his worst decision ever, for reasons still unknown. For years prior, he has been garnering fans with his remarkable passing and dribbling skills at Valencia, which coincided with the team’s strongest period. However, his transfer didn’t include these prized skills, and disappointed football enthusiasts with his subpar performance. He was loaned out to Barcelona and Middlesbrough before he was sold to the so-so English club a year after. He continued playing mediocrely for years until retiring in 2008.
8 Gianluigi Buffon (from Parma to Juventus) $70.6 Million
Italian stallion Gianluigi Buffon is now considered as one of Juventus’ loyalists, not to mention the most consistent goalkeeper in the last 20 years. After Zinedine Zidan was sold, they had to find a replacement of the same caliber, which came in the form of this former Parma player. Buffon’s short-stopping skills aided the team in establishing itself as a reckoning force in Italian football during the late 90's and early 2000's, and brought in multiple Serie A titles, a Champions League, and a World Cup to Juventus.
7 Hernan Crespo (from Parma to Lazio) $71.6 Million
Now a well-known name in Italian football, Hernan Crespo has managed to impress a total of five teams within the Apenninian region. After netting 62 goals in 116 appearances with Parma, Lazio caught wind of this greatness and bought him for a whopping $71.6 million. Crespo immediately became Serie A’s top scorer in his first season, consistently delivering for years despite numerous injuries. He is currently a football nomad or out-of-contract, though still maintaining a good goal-per-game ratio and praises from fans.
6 Fernando Torres (from Liverpool to Chelsea) $76.2 Million
When in good shape, Fernando Torres is one of the best strikers around, bringing in 65 goals in 102 of Liverpool’s games. He is certainly regarded as a God to Merseyside fans, but his ambition led him to transfer to Chelsea for a huge $76.2 million fee. Torres has included an FA Cup and Champions League in the 2011-2012 season to his present array of titles, but scoring just 9 goals in 49 appearances so far still hardly equates the worth he was purchased in. Chelsea fans, regardless of the fact, are still positive on his eventual return to form.
5 Luis Figo (from Barcelona to Real Madrid) $76.2 Million
Luis Figo is now a muito bem legend to Portuguese football fans, especially with his record of most appearances with Portugal’s National Football Team. He was acquired by Barcelona for only $3.9 million back then, where he trained extensively under coach Johan Cruyff for five years. At the peak of his game, inadvertently, he made a controversial transfer to rival Real Madrid for a not-so-measly $76.2 million. Despite this, Figo continued being the astounding player that he is, before retiring with Inter Milan in 2009.
4 Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (from Milan to Real Madrid) $84.7 Million
Commonly known as “Kaka”, Leite is another footballer who has somewhat tamed in the field after a transfer. Winning a Serie A title, a Champions League, two European Super cups, one Italian Super Cup, a World Club Cup championship, and even a Ballon d’Or for best player in the 2006-2007 season made this Brazilian an instant living legend, leaving Milan and Real Madrid mouth-watering for his services. The latter eventually got him, but frequent injuries and current inconsistency in form offers a peek into his non-Hispanic future.
3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (from Inter to Barcelona) $90.5 Million
This Swedish-born player of Serbian descent is considered the highest-paid footballer of all-time. The overall amount spent on him now sums up to an amazing $223 million, with the biggest transaction being done with Barcelona in 2009. He repaid the 69.5 million euro price by winning seven goals on his first seven league matches, but his problems with head coach Pep Guardiola prompted his departure to Milan a season after. Regardless, he is now captain of the Swedish National Team, having impressed every team he belonged to beforehand.
2 Zinedine Zidane (from Juventus to Real Madrid) $95.7 Million
Another footballer up in the hall of fame is French Zinedine Zidane. His self-proclaimed passion for the pitch has kept fans on the edge of their seats for almost 20 years. Zidane has won almost every match he has been in during his entire career run, convincing Spanish team Real Madrid to get him for $95.7 million in 2001. In return, he helped the team win a Champions League and a La Liga title for five years. He capped off his football life for good, albeit at the top, in the 2006 World Cup Final, and known for headbutting Marco Materazzi.
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (from Manchester United to Real Madrid) $122.5 Million
Real Madrid, as illustrated in this list, is keen on getting players from everywhere, but their purchase of Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is their most expensive yet. The Spanish team has been courting him for two years to their side, resulting in a $122.5 million deal in the summer of 2009. He is now worth every single dollar, as he has scored 112 goals in 103 matches so far, consequently plastering his face over every football merchandise worldwide. What’s left for him is a triumph in the Champions League, which should soon rank him among the world’s best footballers.