Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Soccer: History of the World’s Biggest Transfer Records

Posted on December 15, 2013 by Michael Van Beek
Transfers have always been a part of International soccer.

Transfers have become a growing component of International soccer.

With Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid from Tottenham completed last summer, the world transfer record has been busted again.

From Alf Common, the very first $1,000 player, to Johan Cruyff’s $1,000,000 deal to sign for FC Barcelona, to Bale’s $100,000,000 transfer to Spain, large figures have been invested by clubs shopping to land the world’s greatest players.

We will look at the largest moves and some memorable quotes on the mega deals.

Alf Common’s transfer from Sunderland to Middlesbrough in February 1905 was the 1st time a player had ever been moved for a £1,000 fee. The striker went on to assist Middlesbrough stave off relegation to Division Two that season.

Liverpool’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez has been a huge talking point of this summer’s transfer window but it was his Spanish namesake who was making headlines in 1961. The midfielder transferred from Barcelona to Inter Milan for a fee of £152,000 and helped the Italian side to three league titles and two European Cups.

Barcelona was engaged in a record-breaking fee again in 1973, but this time they were the ones carrying out the investing. The Spanish giants spent $1,000,000 to bring in Cruyff from Ajax Amsterdam and the Dutch striker spent 5 years at the Nou Camp – earning one La Liga title and the Copa del Rey.

Two years after Cruyff’s move to Barcelona, the record was broken again as football saw its first £1m player when Italian Giuseppe Savoldi moved from Bologna to Napoli for £1.2m.

Only 1 footballer has busted the transfer record two times and that honor goes to Maradona, who in 1982 transferred from Boca Juniors to Barcelona for £3m. The Argentina legend’s time at the Nou Camp was short-lived, having said that, two years later Napoli paid out £5m to deliver him to Italy.

An Italian team was behind another world record in 1992 when Jean-Pierre Papin transferred from Marseille to AC Milan. The France striker assisted the Serie A side to 2 league titles prior to leaving for Bayern Munich in 1994.

Portuguese superstar Luis Figo surprised football when he quit Barcelona to join Real Madrid in 2000. Real had to spend their bitter rivals £37m to land Figo, who assisted them to 2 La Liga titles and the European Cup in 2002 – the last time the Spanish leaders won the competition. The transfer was also the 1st of five world transfer records busted by Real.

They would overcome their own track record a year later by signing France midfielder Zinedine Zidane for $51.6m from Juventus. The World Cup winner finished his career in Spain right after adding a La Liga title and European Cup to his price list.

The summer of 2009 saw Real surprise world football not once, but two times. Not satisfied with landing Kaka from AC Milan for $60m, the Spaniards also helped bring in Cristiano Ronaldo for $90m from Manchester United. Ronaldo has gone on to be considered as second only to Lionel Messi as the world’s greatest player.

Quotes from players after their big transfers
“We aren’t going to start anything but, and I don’t want this to sound like a threat, I’m not going to forget this. Someone who does this to me will pay for it” – former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart at the time of Figo’s move to Real Madrid.

“I wanted to stay but the world crisis affected my decision. I knew I’d only leave Milan to play for Real” – Kaka reveals financial problems at AC Milan forced him to agree to his £56m move to Real Madrid in 2009.

“Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus” – former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on the possibility of selling Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

This article has been researched and written by Michael van Beek, chief Editor at

. Transfer rumours keeps track of all transfer news and rumours from around the world.

Leave a Reply

  • Current Poll

    Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
  • Post Categories

↑ Top