Most expensive transfers of the 2000s

Baku, December 29, AZERTAC
In a decade of huge spending, one club was involved in many of the largest deals. Here, a look at the biggest signings between 2000 and 2009..., according to Four Four Two.
The new millennium brought big transfers across Europe, with one club in particular shaking up the market.
Florentino Perez was elected as Real Madrid president in the summer of 2000 and his policy of signing "Galacticos" saw some huge deals completed in the first half of the decade.
And although Perez resigned after a bad run of results in 2005, his return in 2009 brought a new wave of spending in the Spanish capital.
There was significant spending at Barcelona, too, while the top clubs in Italy and England also splashed the cash to bring in marquee signings.
Here, a look at the most expensive transfers from the 2000s...
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo had been wanted by Real Madrid for some time, but finally left Manchester United for the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2009 for a world-record fee.
Madrid paid United €94 million to secure the Portuguese superstar in a huge summer spree following the return of Florentino Perez. Ronaldo went on to score an incredible 450 goals in 438 games for Los Blancos in nine seasons at the club and was instrumental as the club won four Champions League titles in that time.
2. Zinedine Zidane
Florentino Perez passed a napkin to Zinedine Zidane at a gala in Monaco. On it was written a question: "Do you want to come [to Real Madrid]?"
Zidane wrote "yes" in English and soon, the French midfielder was on his way to the Santiago Bernabeu in a world-record €77.5 million deal in 2001, which was not broken for another eight years. Zidane hit a wonderful winner for Los Blancos in the Champions League final the following May.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Barcelona had just won the treble in 2009 but felt the need for a big signing after Real Madrid's huge summer spree following the return of Florentino Perez.
So Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived from Inter in a deal which eventually cost the Catalan club €69.5 million - €46m for the Swedish striker plus €20m as Samuel Eto'o moved the other way, with some additional fees on top. Despite a promising start, Ibra fell out with Pep Guardiola and returned to Italy with AC Milan the following summer.
4. Kaka
Hundreds of AC Milan fans protested against the sale of Kaka to Real Madrid outside the Italian club's headquarters, but the Brazilian joined Los Blancos for €67 million in June 2009.
Part of a huge summer spree which also saw Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso brought to the Santiago Bernabeu, Kaka struggled with fitness problems during his time at Real Madrid and only showed his best in glimpses during his four seasons in Spain. He returned to Milan in 2013.
5. Luis Figo
Florentino Perez promised he would sign Luis Figo from Barcelona if he won the Real Madrid presidential elections in the summer of 2000.
Figo had signed an pre-agreement with Perez and was unable to get out of it when he was elected, paving the way for one of the most shocking transfers in football history as Los Blancos paid the winger's €60 million release clause to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu. On one visit to Camp Nou with Los Blancos, a pig's head was famously thrown at the Portuguese.
6. Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres broke the hearts of Liverpool fans when he left Anfield for Chelsea in a €58.5 million deal in January 2011.
The Spain striker had been an idol with the Reds and was never quite able to recapture that form at Chelsea, scoring just 45 goals in 172 games for the west London club. He did win trophies with the Blues, though, including the Champions League in 2012.
7. Hernan Crespo
Hernan Crespo briefly became the world's most expensive player in the summer of 2000 as he left Parma for Lazio in a transfer totalling €56.81 million.
The player-plus-cash deal saw the Argentine striker move to Rome as Matias Almeyda and Sergio Conceicao went in the opposite direction. Crespo scored 48 goals in 73 games for Lazio in two seasons, but won only a Supercoppa Italiana. He joined Inter in 2002.
8. Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he moved from Parma to Juventus in 2001 for €51.88 million.
It was also one of the biggest transfers of all time, but turned out to be money well spent as Buffon went on to make over 650 appearances for the Bianconeri before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2018. Buffon won 10 Serie A titles with Juve and also the World Cup with Italy. He returned to Turin for a second spell in 2019.
9. Gaizka Mendieta
Gaizka Mendieta was one of the best midfielders in the world in the late 1990s and early 2000s and helped Valencia to back-to-back Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.
Wanted by a number of Europe's biggest clubs, Mendieta signed for Lazio in a €48 million transfer in the summer of 2001, making him the sixth-most expensive player of all time in that moment. But the move failed to work out and after loans at Barcelona and Middlesbrough, the Basque joined Boro permanently in 2004.
10. Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand became the world's most expensive defender when he moved from Leeds to Manchester United for €46 million in the summer of 2002.
The former West Ham centre-back went on to feature in over 450 games for the Red Devils, winning six Premier League titles and a Champions League in 12 seasons at Old Trafford. He briefly joined QPR in 2014, but retired at the end of the season.

Sports 2023-12-29 12:37:00