Ever wondered what players from yesteryear would cost in today’s market?
With the likes of Newcastle splashing out £40million on an uncapped Brazilian, who scored just seven Bundesliga goals last season, the mind boggles at what you’d have to spend if the original Ronaldo was still knocking about.
Well, now TotallyMoney can tell you. The financial experts have taken a look back at the 100 most expensive transfers in Europe’s big five leagues – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – since the Premier League’s inception in 1992. They have produced the TotallyMoney Transfer Index and calculated the beautiful game’s unique ‘football inflation’ to see which deals represent the largest.
So, will Neymar keep his crown as the most expensive player of all time or will he be usurped? Sportsmail give you the 10 most valuable transfers ever in today’s terms in reverse order.
10. Jean-Pierre Papin: Marseille to AC Milan – £10.8m in 1992, £152m today
Papin was a lethal striker at Marseille, finishing as the French league’s top scorer five years in a row between 1988-1992.
During that period, Papin reached the 30-goal mark every season and led them to four consecutive league titles, a cup double and a European Cup final.
Papin, who is also the only player to win the Ballon d’Or while playing for a French club, earned his big-money move to AC Milan in 1992, joining for £10.8m – a then world-record fee.
The Frenchman netted 20 times in his first season in Italy but would not last long at the club, leaving at the end of the following campaign for Bayern Munich.
French striker Jean-Pierre Papin joined AC Milan from Marseille in a £10.8m deal in 1992
9. Alen Boksic: Marseille to SS Lazio – £9.9m in 1993, £153m today
In case you hadn’t gathered, Marseille were an extremely talented team in the early 90s, and had all of Europe’s elite sniffing around their most prized commodities.
A year after losing Papin, the call came for Alen Boksic to follow him to Italy with Lazio tabling a £9.9m offer – worth £153m in today’s market – for the striker after he played an integral role in their Champions League success.
The Croatian joined Lazio in December 1993 but would not have the same goalscoring impact he had at Marseille.
He scored a total of 17 league goals during his initial three seasons and moved to Juventus in 1996 where he would spend a brief year before returning to the club.
Alen Boksic’s move from Marseille to Lazio in 1993 would be worth a huge £153m these days
8. Ronaldo: Inter to Real Madrid – £40.5m in 2002, £155m today
Although Ronaldo’s time at Inter was largely blighted by injuries, the striker enjoyed some of the best moments of his career with the club.
He finished his first season with 25 goals and was named the Serie A Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or winner.
Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for £40.5m in 2002 and was part of the Galaticos era in which major stars were signed by the club every summer.
He would go on to win five major trophies with Madrid in five years and scored an impressive 104 goals in 177 games.
Ronaldo was a big hit at Real Madrid after joining from Inter Milan in a £40.5m deal in 2002
7. Zinedine Zidane: Juventus to Real Madrid – £69.8m in 2001, £158m today
Real Madrid acquired the Frenchman for an earth-shattering £69.8m fee – almost double the previous world-record transfer.
Despite that being worth £158m in today’s market, you can’t argue that Zidane did not prove to be value for money.
The midfielder had established himself as one of the world’s best at Juventus but it was his time at Real Madrid that he will always be best remembered for.
In his first season, he scored that goal against Bayer Leverkusen to deliver the Champions League trophy for Madrid and would go on to win five more major honours with them. Zidane is widely regarded as one of the club’s best foreign imports ever.
Real forked out almost £70m for Zinedine Zidane, who would have been worth £158m today
6. Rio Ferdinand: Leeds to Manchester United – £41.4m in 2002, £159m today
And everyone thought Harry Maguire cost a pretty penny.
Turns out, if Manchester United wanted a defender of Rio Ferdinand’s ilk, then they would have had to pay double the £80m they did to sign Maguire this summer.
Back in 2002 though, £41.4m was enough to seal Ferdinand’s signature – making him, at the time, Britain’s most expensive player ever.
The England defender was immensely successful at United, winning 19 major titles with the club.
Rio Ferdinand’s move to Man United would be worth double Harry Maguire’s transfer fee today
5. Gareth Bale: Spurs to Real Madrid – £90.9m in 2013, £167m today
It was a lot of money then, but it would cost significantly more to sign a prime Gareth Bale now.
The Welshman made the move to the Spanish capital in 2013 in a deal that eclipsed Cristiano Ronaldo’s from Manchester United.
Bale earned his move to Madrid after a prolific season at Tottenham but would struggle to live up to his price tag.
The forward made a promising start to his Real career, scoring 22 times in his first season and registering a further 19 assists. Despite winning three Champions League trophies with the club, Bale has never built up an affiliation with the supporters and has been hampered by persistent injuries.
Gareth Bale joined Madrid for £90.9m just six years ago, which today is valued at £167m
4 Romario: PSV Eindhoven to FC Barcelona – £10.8m in 1993, £167m today
The Brazilian was perhaps one of the most natural finishers ever to grace the game.
During his five-year spell at PSV, Romario almost registered a goal a game.
Barcelona came calling in 1993 and splashed out £10.8m on the striker – at the time that was just £2m under the transfer record.
He made a quick transition to Spanish football, finishing his debut season as top scorer with 30 goals from just 33 games but left the club unexpectedly in January 19995 after a rift with manager Johan Cruyff.
Romario spent just two seasons at Barcelona after signing from PSV in a £10.8m deal in 1993
3. Cristiano Ronaldo: Man United to Real Madrid – £84.6m in 2009, £195m today
With the money Madrid have in the bank, it’s no surprise that historically they’ve been known to be a bit blase with their cheque book.
But signing Ronaldo was a masterstroke. £84.6m is not coup by any stretch of the imagination, but as an investment, Madrid made their money back ten times over.
The Portuguese star scored a total of 450 goals in 438 games for the club and led them to three successive Champions League triumphs.
During his time at the club, Ronaldo earned a reputation as the world’s best player, winning four Ballon d’Ors while playing for Madrid. The Spanish giants sold the 34-year-old to Juventus last summer and made a tidy £15m profit on him.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Real is the third most expensive ever, taking inflation into account
2. Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain – £200m in 2017, £202m today
Neymar became the world’s most expensive player ever when he left Barcelona for PSG in a eye-watering £200m move two years ago.
The Brazilian wanted to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and stake his claim as the world’s best.
But since leaving, although Neymar has been prolific in France, he has come no closer to being crowned the Ballon d’Or winner.
PSG have come no closer to winning the Champions League either and all the frustrations came to a head this summer when Neymar appeared to do everything but rip up his contract to return to Barcelona.
Neymar became the world’s most expensive player ever when he joined PSG for £200m
1. Gianluca Vialli: Sampdoria to Juventus – £14.9m in 1992, £209m today
So, surprisingly, it is Vialli’s move from Sampdoria to Juventus in 1992 that snags top spot for the most expensive transfer of all time.
The £14.9m transfer fee Juventus paid in 1992 would be worth a gargantuan £209m these days.
Vialli, alongside Roberto Mancini, fired Sampdoria to their first ever Serie A title in the 1990-1991 season and was an inspirational figure in helping the club achieve some of the best moments in their history.
He spent four seasons at Juventus where he amassed over 100 appearances and scored a total of 53 goals before leaving for Chelsea in 1996.
Gianluca Vialli’s move to Juventus in 1992 would be worth an eye-watering £209m today