Gareth Bale's €100 million move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 made him the most expensive player in soccer. The Spanish giants, with their galacticos policy, dominate much of this top 10.
The Portuguese step-over king had been wanting to leave Manchester United for some time and the Old Trafford club finally accepted this massive bid from Real Madrid in 2009. Fifa World Player of the Year in 2008, Ronaldo's vast repertoire of tricks and ability to score goals from a variety of different positions were crucial factors in Real's decision to shell out. His iconic status was also a major pull.
Juventus built their team around the mercurial French playmaker, and he won back-to-back scudetto titles in his first two seasons at the club. His sustained brilliance persuaded Real Madrid to beat their own world record outlay (for Luis Figo in 2000), and Zidane paid them back with the winning goal in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.
In hindsight, Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola made a mistake signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic for such an astronomical fee and sending Samuel Eto’o the other way to Inter Milan. The Swede started brightly but ultimately flopped at Camp Nou amid accusations of laziness which were given added credence by goalkeeper Victor Valdes actually running further in one match (ironically against Inter) than the big striker. Now at Paris Saint-Germain.
AC Milan supporters protested outside the club's headquarters over the possible sale of Kaka to Manchester City in January 2009. That transfer ultimately stalled because the Brazilian did not want to move to Eastlands but the Milan tifosi could do nothing to stop the playmaker joining the Merengues in the summer of 2009 as Florentino Perez's galacticos policy got into full swing. After four largely indifferent years at the Bernabeu, Kaka returned to Milan on a free transfer in 2013, with Real keen to get him off their wage bill.
7. Luís Figo (€62 million) - Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000
If ever there was $55.6 million well spent, it was on Figo. The Portuguese wizard wowed the masses at the Bernabeu for five years, his trickery and crossing ability from the wing embodying Real's policy of signing entertainers with end product. World Player of the Year in 2001, what he lacked in pace, Figo made up for in skill. This was one of the most controversial transfers in history as he left Barcelona for the club's hated rivals. When he returned for a league match at Camp Nou in 2002, angry supporters aimed missiles at him, including a pig's head.
The Spaniard had looked disillusioned with life at Anfield for some time, despite previous declarations that he loved the club. Torres had not won a trophy with Liverpool and was clearly dubious about the club’s chances of challenging the game’s superpowers. It was Torres' ambition that made him leave Anfield, as Chelsea hoped they had signed a player entering the peak years of his career.