Watching Fernando Torres suffer a third straight home defeat to his former club Liverpool, I ran a quick check on football’s 10 all time biggest transfer fees.
So here are, according to Wikipedia, the 10 most expensive players of all time:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo. After a slight dip in form in his first season in Madrid, has justified his position as world’s most expensive player.
2. Zinadine Zidane. The People loved him, but in truth – one La Liga title and one European title over five years amount to one of the least successful periods in the history of Real Madrid.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Barcelona. Disaster. He was never really wanted by manager and teammates that never really needed him. Which begs the question: why was he bought at all?
4. Kaka. Failure.
5. Figo. A modest success. His controversial move from Barcelona did seem to tilt the balance of power in Spain at the time. But later was part of the Galacticos decline.
6. Fernando Torres. Heading for disaster.
7. Hernan Crespo to Lazio. Scored some goals and club recovered most of the money in a later re-sale.
8. Gianluigi Buffon. Fantastic acquisition for Juventus. Huge transfer fees get a whole different meaning when player has 10-15 years still ahead of him.
9-10. Christian Vieri. Inter gambled on a 27 year old and Vieri got goals – 103 in 143 games for club. Having said that – Inter did not win the Scudetto.
9-10. Andriy Shevchenko. The face that he failed was the small issue. The contribution to the rift between the manager Jose Mourinho and owner Roman Abramovich was the most damaging aspect of the deal. Anyhow – who spends big money on a 30 year old?
So we have 4 total failures. 2-3 real big success stories. Quite a modest return. Paying these prices for a player older than 25 is usually a big mistake.
Interesting point: they were all bought either by clubs subsidized by private money (The Italian clubs or Chelsea) or by a none-profit entity like Real Madrid or Barcelona. Clubs operating in real economic restrictions just don’t spend this kind of money on a single player.