Top 50 most expensive footballers - adjusted for inflation
UPDATED: Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Man Utd to Real Madrid make him officially, even including adjustments for inflation, the most expensive footballer of all time.
The combined total of his two transfers - from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, and now to Real - reaches nearly £95 million, just eclipsing Juan Veron’s total, which was accrued in four transfer.
Thanks again to Soccerbase.com for providing our data.
Here is an interactive chart showing the 50 most expensive footballers by transfer fees, adjusted for inflation.
As you can see from the red bar near the top, Zinedine Zidane’s transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 for £45,620,000 (inflation adjusted: £56.5m) remains by far the single largest fee.
A couple of words about our data: we got our figures from Soccerbase.com - a UK-based site which, while very comprehensive, still managed to throw up a couple of inaccuracies - which our wily sports team spotted.
Anelka’s transfer from Real Madrid to Paris St Germain isn’t listed. Nor are Veron’s from Estudiantes to Boca Juniors, and to Sampdoria, nor Zidane’s from Bordeaux to Juventus.
The reason, Chris Mann from Soccerbase explained, is that his site is focused on players transferring to and from English clubs - and therefore doesn’t list all world transfers. (We couldn’t find a site that does.)
So we publish our graph with that important caveat.
As for the inflation adjustments, we wrote an inflation calculator tool using the ONS’s Retail Price Index, which dates back to 1947.