Even though we don’t like to think of it as such, football is a business. When seen from this point of view, incoming player transfers are investments into the evolution of the
company club. Sometimes, players contribute to the growth of the team through their star power. This has happened to Zlatan Ibrahimović and David Beckham before him when they joined the Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy – their fame attracted a lot of sponsorship money to the club. Their contributions as football players didn’t hurt their bottom lines either…
Serie A clubs, in general, are not famous for spending astronomical amounts on players. Still, there were quite a few high-profile transfers to Serie A clubs that made the headlines at their time. Here are the most expensive ones ever (all of them to Juventus, mind you).
Matthijs de Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt joined the youth academy of Dutch team Ajax at the age of 9 and started playing with the first team in 2016 (while still a youth). He scored his first goal in a senior match in September 2016, in a 5-0 victory against Willem II. Later in the year, he scored his first Europa League goal – he is the youngest player to have done so, at the age of 17 years and 285 days. In 2017, he became a first-team starter (he was just 18 at the time), and made captain in a game against Real Madrid – once again, he was the youngest ever to have done so. His performance attracted the attention of many high-profile clubs, including that of Juve – this July, they signed the Dutch wunderkind in a transfer worth €75 million – the third-highest ever paid by a Serie A team.
Gonzalo Higuaín was born in France to former Argentine professional footballer Jorge Higuaín. He started his professional career with River Plate, a club based in Buenos Aires, from where he moved on to Real Madrid in 2006 in a transfer worth €12 million. His move to Italy followed six seasons, 190 league games, and more than 100 goals later – Napoli signed him in 2013 for €40 million. In 2016, it was time to move again: he joined Juve in a transfer worth €90 million, breaking all records for the club and the league.
Higuaín was called upon to join both the Argentine and French squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He initially rejected both, then changed his mind and chose to play for Argentina.
The most expensive signing of a Serie A team in history (so far) is the transfer of Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, for a sum of €100 million. Cristiano Ronaldo needs no introduction – he is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, and his finances have been extensively analyzed by the press in the last few years.
Ronaldo made his senior debut at Sporting Lisbon in 2002, spending just one season with the team before being signed by Manchester United. Then, he spent nine seasons with Real Madrid before joining the Serie A in a transfer that shattered all records to that point. While his transfer to Juve didn’t break the world record (set one year prior by Neymar’s move to PSG), it is the highest amount ever paid for a footballer over the age of 30.