Top 50 most expensive footballers - adjusted for inflation

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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 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 - 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.

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March 2, 2009 • Tags:  • Posted in: Uncategorized

14 Responses to “Top 50 most expensive footballers - adjusted for inflation”

  1. links for 2009-03-03 | William M. Hartnett - March 3, 2009

    [...] Top 50 most expensive footballers adjusted for inflation - Times Labs Blog Interactive chart showing the 50 most expensive soccer players by cumulative, inflation-adjusted transfer fees. (tags: soccer) [...]

  2. De Primeira - March 4, 2009

    Robinho deserves a better position. His transfer from Santos to Real Madrid was huge too: 30 million.

  3. De Primeira - March 4, 2009

    The article about Robinho’s tranfer in Estado de S. Paulo:,0.htm

  4. De Primeira - March 4, 2009

    Sorry, the right link here:

  5. Neil - March 4, 2009

    I think you have your Denilson;s mixed up

  6. David Simons - March 13, 2009

    hi, i think im right here but crespo is one of the most expensive players ever in terms of transfer fees i think his transfer to lazio from parma was over 50 million in euros, nice graph though

  7. C.moran - June 11, 2009

    Come you can do a lot better than this. As someone pointed out, the denilsons are mixed up, thats a bad error.And madrid paid big money for robinho. Christian Vieri- Atletico paid 11m£ from Juve, Lazio paid 17m£, then inter paid around 30m£ for him. Crespo moved to Lazio from Parma for 35m£ although i think player exchages were involved.

  8. Austin - June 12, 2009

    I love this chart. Please, if you get the chance, add Kaka and Crespo, and as someone rightly pointed out, you’ve conflated two Denilsons.

  9. dawid - June 14, 2009

    why is denilson mixed up !

  10. En pahalı 50 | footbaLLove - July 31, 2009

    [...] Kaynak: The Times Blog anelka bonservis ronaldo transfer veron zidane [...]

  11. R Richards - August 20, 2009

    love the chart, but I read somewhere that Peter Crouch was the most expensive english footballer on combined transfers

  12. smith - September 17, 2009

    i think Drogba is the world’s best stroker, but Eto fils is a better finisher. go Africa

  13. smith - September 17, 2009

    what has become of Redondo?

  14. Azam - October 28, 2009

    Em … Ibrahimovic? Malo to Ajax to Juve to Inter to Bara
    = 7.8 + 16 + 24.8 + 65 = 113.6 Euros … um that has to be up there?

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