How have transfer fees evolved? The biggest deals in history

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With Neymar’s $262 million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain set to be the biggest transfer in soccer history, how does it compare with previous records?

[ MORE: Messi says goodbye | Neymar’s wages ]

Aside from Neymar’s transfer doubling the current world-record fee ($123.3 million) Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer, it’s intriguing to see how these fees have changed over time.

Of course these are all relative and post-Bosman things changed drastically, but if you had told clubs and players in the 1990s that a player would be bought for close to $250 million, they would have ushered you out of the building very quickly. With the vast commercial income star names bring, not to mention their quality on the pitch, it’s easy to understand why PSG will smash every single record to bring in Neymar.

Below is a list of every transfer which has become a new world record.

We kick things off in 1973 when Dutch legend Johan Cruyff became the first player to cost over $1 million in a transfer.


Johan Cruyff: Ajax to Barcelona, 1973 – $1.21 million
Giuseppe Savoldi: Bologna to Napoli, 1975 – $1.58 million
Paolo Rossi: Juventus to Vicenza, 1976 – $2.3 million
Diego Maradona: Boca Juniors to Barcelona, 1982 – $3.9 million
Diego Maradona: Barcelona to Napoli, 1984 – $6.6 million
Ruud Gullit: PSV Eindhoven to AC Milan, 1987 – $7.9 million
Roberto Baggio: Fiorentina to Juventus, 1990 – $10.5 million
Jean-Pierre Papin: Marseille to AC Milan, 1992 – $13.2 million
Gianluca Vialli: Sampdoria to Juventus, 1992 – $15.8 million
Gianluigi Lentini: Torino to Milan, 1992 – $17.1 million
Ronaldo: PSV Eindhoven to Barcelona, 1996 – $17.4 million
Alan Shearer: Blackburn to Newcastle, 1996 – $19.8 million
Ronaldo: Barcelona to Inter Milan, 1998 – $25.7 million
Denilson: Sao Paulo to Real Betis, 1998 – $28.4 million
Christian Vieri: Lazio to Inter Milan, 1999 – $42.4 million
Hernan Crespo: Parma to Lazio, 2000 – $46.9 million
Luis Figo: Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000 – $48.9 million
Zinedine Zidane: Juventus to Real Madrid – $62.2 million
Kaka: AC Milan to Real Madrid, 2009 – $78 million
Cristiano Ronaldo: Man United to Real Madrid, 2009 – $105.8 million
Gareth Bale: Tottenham to Real Madrid, 2013 – $112.8 million
Paul Pogba: Juventus to Man United, 2016 – $123.3 million
Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain – $261 million (set to be completed this week, new world-record)