The abnormal rate of price changes makes it very difficult to compare transfer fees in different eras. The best method is the transfer index, developed by the British financial agency TotallyMoney. They created the notion of football inflation by calculating how much would the Superstars cost in today’s football.
Noteworthy, that Real Madrid paid for three of the following top5 most expensive transfers:
5. Ronaldo – Inter> Real Madrid
£ 40 million in 2002, £ 155 million now
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima‘s transfer to Real Madrid in 2002 was made in exchange for £ 40m, which was then considered a colossal sum. At today’s prices the striker was sold for £ 155m. But now even £ 155m may seem cheap for a player of this level.
4. Zinedine Zidane – Juventus> Real Madrid
£ 69 million in 2001, £ 157 million now
At the time of the transfer, Zizu was 29 years old and spending the last years of his career. Nevertheless, Zidane was an excellent investment for Real, that returned to the team ten times.
Zidane won the Champions League along with Real, in which he scored one of the best goals in tournament history. At the end of his career, Zidane remained in the team hierarchy, won the Champions League as an assistant coach, then became a coach and brought the team to three more Champions League titles.
Zizu’s transfer would cost £ 157m today.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United> Real Madrid
£ 84 million in 2009, £ 195 million now
Ronaldo’s move to Real has been one of the most dramatic and tense transfers in football history. Soon he became one of the greatest figures in team history.
For nine years, he has won numerous titles for the team and has captured a lot of team records.
2. Neymar Jr. – Barcelona> PSG
£ 200 million in 2017, £ 202 million now
Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG in 2017 as he thought he would become a bigger superstar, But for the past three years, we have heard rumors that he wants to return to Catalonia.
The £ 200m that was spent on his transfer was twice more than the record for that time(£ 95m paid in Pogba), and so far, football inflation has dropped him to the second place only.
1. Gianluca Vialli- Sampdoria> Juventus
£ 14 million in 1992, £ 209 million now
Changes in the Champions League and Premier League in 1992 have largely shaped the football landscape that we see today. But in the early nineties, Italy was the richest football country.
Gianluca Vialli was the son of a millionaire, so he was no stranger to big money. But it would be difficult even for him to pay his present price. The £14m paid for him then would be £209m in today’s market.