Skip to main content

Ranked! The 10 most expensive players of all time in cumulative transfer fees

Cristiano Ronaldo
(Image credit: PA Images)

Record-breaking one-off moves may make the headlines, but some players have racked up some eye-watering transfer totals over the course of their careers (and others have managed it in one gigantic hit).

Here they are, ranked...

10. Eden Hazard - £121 million

Hazard became Real Madrid's second-most expensive signing in their history when he joined from Chelsea in the summer of 2019.

The initial £89 million fee could end up topping £150 million due to add-ons - and if it does, the Belgian wing-wizard will surpass teammate Gareth Bale as Real's record acquisition.

Considering he cost them just £32 million from Lille, it's fair to say Chelsea could be pretty happy with their business here.

9. Antoine Griezmann - £132 million

Antoine Griezmann

(Image credit: PA Images)

Given their current financial plight, Barcelona are probably wishing they hadn't activated Griezmann's £108 million release clause two years ago.

The Frenchman moved to Barca five years after joining Atletico from Real Sociedad (apparently he can only play for stripy Spanish clubs) for around £24 million.

The Fortnite-dancing World Cup winner has just returned to La Liga champions Atleti on loan for the season, but there is potentially a £33.4 million permanent deal in the offing next summer.

8. Angel Di Maria - £147.2 million

Di Maria doesn't even crack the top 20 in terms of the most expensive individual transfers of all time, but it rather goes without saying that he's made clubs a healthy amount more than once.

The biggest deal of the Argentine playmaker's career was his £59.7 million move to Manchester United in the summer of 2014 - the most ever paid by a British club at the time.

He'd be on his way only a year later, though, joining PSG for a sizeable yet non-record-breaking fee of around £44 million.

7. Ousmane Dembele - £153 million

Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You're beginning to see why Barcelona ended up in such a pickle, aren't you?

Two years before splashing out over £100 million for one France international, they spent considerably more than that on another.

The 24-year-old's time at Camp Nou has been blighted by injuries, and Barca were reportedly open to offloading him this summer for the knockdown price of £43 million (although that would still have bumped him up to fourth on the list).

6. Philippe Coutinho - £152.9 million

Guess who ultimately paid £142 million of that total? Yep! Barcelona - who signed the silky Brazilian from Liverpool in January 2018.

Coutinho joined the Reds from Inter for a bargain £7.5 million in January 2013, before making that colossal move - still the third-most expensive transfer of all time -  five years later.

And it only took 18 months for Barca to loan their record signing out to Bayern Munich - who he famously scored twice for in an 8-2 Champions League quarter-final rout at Camp Nou.

5. Kylian Mbappe - £165.7m million

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe

(Image credit: PA Images)

There's not much cumulative about this one; one move took care of the whole amount!

Taking the concept of making a loan switch permanent to new extremes, PSG made Mbappe the most expensive European player of all time in the summer of 2018.

The French World Cup-winning star's next move could be for, er, quite a bit less than that, though. Real Madrid failed to land the 22-year-old during the window just gone, but he is out of contract at the end of the season...

4. Alvaro Morata - £160.8 million

He might not have looked it as he endured a miss-strewn Euro 2020, but Alvaro Morata is the second- most expensive number nine of all time when you add all his moves together.

Things didn't exactly work out at Chelsea, who broke their transfer record to sign the Spaniard from Real Madrid for close to £60 million in 2017. The Blues didn't take too much of a hit to their pocket, however, selling him to Atletico Madrid for a similar fee last year.

He's still only 28, too, so that £160.8 million total could yet increase in the years to come.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - £210.1 million

You may have noticed that one of the GOATs has just returned to Manchester United...

Twelve years on from joining Real Madrid for a then world record £80 million, Ronaldo is back at Old Trafford - signing from Juventus for pocket change (£12.86 million, to be precise).

The 36-year-old probably won't make United any more money in transfer fees, but if we based this list on replica shirt sales, you can bet he'd top it by some distance.

2. Neymar - £248.8 million

It's hardly a surprise that the player involved in the most expensive transfer in football history makes - and very nearly tops - this list.

Love him or hate him, Neymar is a bona fide superstar - £200 million worth of superstar, to be exact.

That's what PSG paid to prise him away from Barcelona four years ago - and the French giants are the only club to pay (relatively) close to that since.

1. Romelu Lukaku - £291 million

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku

(Image credit: PA Images)

For quite a while, Nicolas Anelka held the title of cumulatively most expensive player of all time - and now the honour (if that's the right word) belongs to another Chelsea striker.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea this summer for a touch under £100 million, seven years on from leaving Stamford Bridge for Everton for a now paltry-looking £28 million.

Moves to Manchester United and Inter Milan in between came to almost £150 million - and you can hardly argue that the prolific Belgian hasn't been worth every penny/cent.

Subscribe to FourFourTwo today and get three issues delivered for just £3. The offer ends October 17, 2021.


DEADLINE DAY The key headlines from a busy afternoon for Europe's top clubs

QUIZ Can you name the 25 highest-scoring active international men's players?

BLUES Lukaku for "free"? Chelsea's transfer business trumps all this summer