The five most high-profile transfers in football history are ranked.


Clubs make player transfers for various reasons, ranging from strengthening a particular position to making a statement signing to boost their profile.

A few recent examples in this regard would be Robert Lewandowski moving from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich, Virgil van Dijk arriving at Liverpool from Southampton and Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Juventus from Real Madrid.

However, when a club manages to land a superstar player after warding off interest from a plethora of suitors, it tends to send a message across that they mean business.

Throughout the game’s history, there have been several high-profile transfers that have either shaken up the status quo or garnered plenty of attention for various reasons. On that note, here’s a look at the five most high-profile transfers in the game’s history.

#5 Johan Cruyff from Ajax to Barcelona | 1973

Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the best players to have graced the game.

Cruyff brought Rinus Michel’s revolutionary ‘Total Football’ philosophy to life, a blueprint copied by later successful teams like Barcelona, Spain and Bayern Munich. A prolific goalscorer, Cruyff could play literally anywhere on the field and was equally at ease conjuring goalscoring opportunities for teammates.

The legendary Dutchman first made his name at Ajax, transforming the mediocre Eredivisie side into a European powerhouse and winning three consecutive European Cups in the

But after Cryuff was stripped of the club captaincy

the then 26-year-old snubbed interest from Real Madrid to Barcelona in the summer of 1973 in a world-record transfer worth $2 million. The rest, as they say, is history.

The three-time European champion made an immediate impact, helping his new team win 5-0 at the home of their arch-rivals Real Madrid en route to winning their first league title in more than a decade.

After five years as a player at Camp Nou, Cruyff returned a decade later to become Barcelona’s longest-serving manager and assembled a dream team that won four consecutive La Liga titles and the European Cup.

#4 Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid to Juventus | 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was a bonafide legend of the game when he arrived at Juventus from Real Madrid on a gargantuan €100 million transfer in the summer of 2018. That was a record fee paid by any club for a player aged 30 and above.

During a prolific nine-season stint in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo scored a whopping 450 goals and maintained an astounding goals per game ratio. He played a key role in Madrid becoming the first club to successfully defend their title in the UEFA Champions League era en route to doing a three-peat between 2016 and 2018.

Ronaldo, one of the best-paid players in the team, also achieved individual success during his Real Madrid stint. He won four Ballon d’Or awards and became the first to breach the 40-goal mark in a La Liga season. But after Real Madrid’s third-consecutive Champions League triumph in 2018, he sought a different challenge.

Juventus were happy to splurge and land the man who could end their more than two-decade-long Champions League drought. Although that hasn’t happened yet during his three seasons with the Bianconeri, Ronaldo has already racked up a century of goals and won two league titles. Juventus finished a distant fourth in the league last season, but Ronaldo won his first Capcannoniere award.

After a prolific Euro 2020 campaign with Portugal, Ronaldo will look to hit the ground running under new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri as the Bianconeri seek a return to title-winning ways.

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