‘Dossiers from Europe’ – A blog that takes a comprehensive view of European football – going beyond the starry lights of the European giants, it takes a detour into the cafes of Vienna, the alleyways of Eastern Europe to the sunny Iberian peninsula and much more. Immerse yourself into the latest footballing happenings and trends of the continent that is shaping the present and future of football; both tactically and commercially. So, if the Eredivisie/ Ligue 1/ Jupiler Pro League etc. is your cup of tea, we will serve you the perfect brew!
So, you are wondering what is happening in France. Paris Saint-Germain are slowly establishing themselves as the new power house of Europe under Carlo Ancelotti while our fellow professor in England is having nightmares after a bombshell dropped by his skipper in early July. The balance might have shifted to the land where Monalisa naughtily smiles from the golden frame and where Vittoria Vetra was supposed to meet Robert Langdon for a romantic date that never materialized.
However deals are meant to be materialized these days where the Parisian club pokes their nose in. They have bought players of worth €200m in two years. However, this column will trace the fortune of PSG some other day.
Let us talk about something else, related to PSG in a way. They finished their transfer window, which is what they claimed, with the purchase of enigmatic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for €23M from AC Milan.
God save the Rossoneri!
Now, curious case is that the Swede International, with that transfer becomes the most expensive footballer who has managed to accumulate the highest transfer fee than anybody else. Here we shall list down some of those football nomads who have always caught the attention of top clubs. Not necessarily all are supremely talented – for that matter Kaka, Ronaldinho or Fernando Torres doesn’t feature in the top 10 list – but somehow these guys have managed to grab the eyeballs and wallet of the owners of top football clubs.
Trivia (a silly one )– Name two clubs who will be featuring in this list for most number of times?
Probably the greatest ever footballer to have graced the beautiful game post Maradona finds himself uncomfortably sitting in the 10th place. At one point of time he was the most expensive player on earth, however he narrowly edges out ex-Chelsea winger Arjen Robben having amassed a total transfer value of €84 m.
Zidane is followed by the gifted Brazilian who could never fulfill his true potential despite giving the feeling that he would take the league by storm everywhere he went. The Santos forward first created a deep torpor in the media after his heroics in the Confederation cup back in 2005. Real Madrid came knocking at the door and paid €24 m to capture his signature. In 2008 He was transferred to then nouveau riche of England, Manchester City, for a reported fee of €43 m. Presently plying his trade at Milan, after spending a brief six months loan spell at Santos, he has accumulated a total transfer value of €85 m.
Christian Vieri of Italy bags the eighth place in the table. He completed a record move (€45 m) to Inter Milan from Lazio in 1999. At least Inter got value for money through his performance; as he went on to score 103 goals in 143 appearances for the club. The Bologna born striker has played in 12 different clubs in his illustrious career.
The Irish man sits in number seven spot with a total transfer fee of €97.7 m. Wow, just wow! Considering the players we have come across so far, his inclusion in top 10 can lit up the eyes in disbelief.
Another Los Blancos player makes the chart. In number six, we have the ‘real’ Ronaldo – The Brazilian goal machine with a moniker ‘Phenom’. Arguably one of the greatest strikers of this generation he was always chased by top clubs all over the Europe. He was the discovery of Sir Bobby Robson who signed him at Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven for €15 m. Not every player has the distinction of playing for clubs like Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Transfers: Cruzeiro to PSV Eindhoven – €5 m, PSV Eindhoven to FC Barcelona – €15 m, FC Barcelona to Inter Milan – €28 m, Inter Milan to Real Madrid – €45 m, Real Madrid to AC Milan – €7.5 m. Total transfer fee: above €100 m
He currently holds the record of commanding the single biggest transfer fee of all-time. The boy from Madeira was hired by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003 for €17.5 m from Sporting Lisbon. After completing six successful years at the club, helping the Red Devils winning three league titles and one Champions League he moved to his ‘dream club’ Real Madrid in 2009, for a record transfer fee of €94 m. Replacing an icon like David Beckham and selling that player at such price when recession was at its worst phase, it has to be the deal of the new Millennium for Manchester United.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Another Manchester United player makes the list of top 10 who didn’t do well in English soil. La Brujita, the ex-Argentina captain was a massive hit in Italy. Lazio bought him from Genoa with a fee of €30 m and then sold to Manchester United for €42.6 m. He was later transferred to Chelsea for €22.5 m.
Total transfer fee: €117 m
It seems like Argentine players are destined to be flops at Chelsea. Hernan Crespo was bought from Inter Milan for €26 m, but he never found his proper feet at English soil. In 1996, Parma paid €4 m to River Plate to secure this hot prospect. After staying with the club for four years and scoring 62 goals in 116 appearances he was sold to Lazio for a record fee of €55 m. However, he could only play for two years in Rome when Inter Milan priced him out at €36 m. But after featuring for only 17 games and scoring seven goals he was transferred to Chelsea. Not sure how one will judge his club career but he collected a transfer fee of €121 m in his entire career. That’s huge!
He is good but never extraordinary by any means. He played nearly all over the Europe covering four countries in the process. Nicolas Anelka is indeed a rare talent. He was an out an out striker yet was never known for his goal scoring exploits. But how on earth he managed to grab top clubs is a matter of great mystery. There is no hiding of the fact that he had great potentials when he started his career at Arsenal. Real Madrid as always looking to pick the hot cherry took him to Bernabeu for €35 m. After managing just two goals in 19 appearances his time at Madrid was over within a year. He might have failed in Spain but he never failed to attract buyers and that is the unique talent of this Frenchman. He moved to PSG for €34.5 m and despite putting up another flop show managed to get hold of clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City.
€128.6 m – Total money clubs paid for this bald striker. Football, bloody hell!
Number one has to be PSG’s latest recruit Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has won league titles with Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and AC Milan. Admit it, the guy can play. Whether or not he turns up at big stages is different. But he possesses all the godly skills on earth and when he is on song, the Swede is just a treat to watch.
His form can be erratic at times and often frustrating to watch but on his day he can do anything. He can tear apart any defence with his guile and deft skills.
Let us take a look at his transfers: Malmö FF to Ajax Amsterdam – €7.8 m, Ajax Amsterdam to Juventus – €25 m, Juventus to Inter Milan – €24.8 m, Inter Milan to FC Barcelona – €69.5 m (€49.5 m plus Samuel Eto’o), FC Barcelona to AC Milan – €24 m, AC Milan to PSG – €20 m
Total transfer fee: €170.6 m
See, these things are misleading at times. People who think why Arjen Robben is just behind Zidane or why the Frenchman is not in the top three must understand that market value is the most crucial element here. The price of commodity (players here) in 1990’s era is different from what it is today. Enough of gibberish.
Back to the trivia, hurry up…
Dossiers From Europe’ will welcome arguments, rational and irrational logic (Football defy logic at times), debates and above all your highly valued two-penny worth opinions.