Football is perhaps the most followed sport ever to be invented, with an estimated number of more than 4 billion fans around the world. This means that there’s a lot of money involved in the sport, and the most popular players are “worth” a lot of cash for the most prestigious clubs (and their owners). Taking a look at the annals of football transfers, you’ll see that the money paid for the first documented transfer in 1893 was £100, a sum one of today’s high rollers spend on a single spin at Euro Palace. As time passed, the amounts involved in football transfers grew to the order of thousands, and tens of thousands. In 1928, the world record fee paid for Bolton Wanderers player David Jack was £10,890, a sum you’ll frequently see at the Euro Palace’s winners wall. In time, the fees continued to grow – in 1968, Juventus purchased Pietro Anastasi for £500,000, equal to the jackpot attached to one of Euro Palace’s slot machines. The first player to break the million pound barrier – equal to the base value of Euro Palace’s most generous progressive slot machine – was Giuseppe Savoldi, leaving Bologna for Napoli in 1975. Since then, transfer fees keep growing, leading to fabulous amounts paid for the greatest football stars by the greatest football clubs. Below you’ll find the list of the most expensive players today.
3. Paul Pogba
Born in 1993, Paul Pogba is currently the third most expensive football player in the world, valued at $122 million. Pogba started his football career at the age of 6, in Roissy-en-Brie, France, where he played until the age of 13. Later, he played at Torcy and Le Havre before transferring to Manchester United’s youth team in 2009. He stayed with the English team for 2 years as a youth, advancing to the senior team in 2011. After just three appearances in the season, he transferred to Juventus, where he proved himself – between 2012 and 2016, he scored 28 times in 124 games played. This year, he transferred back to Manchester United for a record fee of $116.4 million.
2. Christiano Ronaldo
This Portuguese player needs no introduction. At the age of 31, he is one of the most valuable football players alive, with a very impressive record (265 goals in 244 apps at Real Madrid alone), valued at $128 million. Ronaldo grew up playing football – his father was the kit man for Andorinha, an amateur team where he played as a child. At the age of 12, he was signed by Sporting CP for a fee of £1,500. He stayed with the team for eight years before being signed by Manchester United. During the six years he spent in England, he appeared in 196 matches and scored 84 times.
1. Leo Messi
Lionel Messi is not only one of the most popular football players ever but also the most expensive – he is valued at $211 million. After six years at Newell’s Old Boys, a local team in his birthplace, he joined Barcelona’s youth team at the age of 13. He stayed with the team ever since. In a total of 389 apps so far, he scored over 330 goals for the team. He has a salary of €40 million a year at Barca.
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