Cristiano Ronaldo still tops the list of the Most Expensive Players that are aged 30 or over despite the recent signing of Casemiro from Real Madrid for a whopping sum of £60 million (€70m), with another £10m (€11m) in add-ons.
The Brazil midfielder is not the most expensive player beyond 30-year-old in history despite how mouth watery the deal sounds. Cristiano Ronaldo, a current United, and former Madrid teammate continue to maintain that distinction. Ronaldo, at 32, was acquired by Juventus from Real Madrid for a staggering €100 million in July 2018.
Many Madrid supporters felt the team sold their all-time leading goal scorer too soon at the time of the transfer, which caused controversy that lingered for a while before the fans moved on.
Before winning the UEFA Champions League title once more for the 14th time last season, the Spanish powerhouse had won three Champions Leagues in a row with the help of Ronaldo. This run was followed by a four-year European drought after Ronaldo left.
In three seasons at Juventus, Ronaldo scored 81 league goals and won the Serie A twice. However, he struggled in continental play and left Juventus in 2021 to join his old team, Manchester United.
After leaving Real Madrid, Casemiro is currently ranked No. 2 on the list of the most expensive over-30s players. He has the difficult challenge of helping United turn their season around after two straight Premier League losses.
He has passed Miralem Pjanic, a player whose transfer shocked many when Barcelona announced it in August 2020. The now-32-year-old playmaker from Bosnia and Herzegovina left Juventus for a cost of €60 million, with Brazil’s Arthur moving the other way. The move was made to benefit the team’s finances as well as their on-field performance.
Pjanic only made six starts for Barcelona in 2020–21, and he spent the previous campaign on loan at Besiktas. However, he is currently back in the fold for 2022–23.
Robert Lewandowski, another star from Barcelona, is ranked No. 4 on the list. Even though he still had a year left on his contract, Barca paid Bayern Munich €45m to sign the 33-year-old two-time European Golden Shoe winner.
He is followed by Paulinho, a former Brazil midfielder who had a chequered past at Camp Nou. The now-34-year-old made a series of puzzling transfers, joining Barcelona from Guangzhou Evergrande in 2017 for a sum of €40 million, returning to the Chinese club a year later on loan, and then joining them permanently for a fee of €42 million.
Sixth and seventh place on the list are occupied by two seasoned center backs, which is probably not surprising given that defenders typically peak a little later in their careers.
After spending seven years at Juventus, Leonardo Bonucci, now 35, departed the club to join Serie A rivals AC Milan in July 2017 for a cost of €42 million, only to return to Turin a year later after Chelsea signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli.
Radja Nainggolan, a midfielder who represents Belgium internationally, was acquired by Inter Milan from Roma in 2018 for €38 million. He only spent one season at San Siro before going on loan to Cagliari.
The next name on the list must be found all the way back in 2000. Before joining Roma for €36 million, then a record cost for a player in his 30s, the renowned, long-haired, Argentine attacker Gabriel Batistuta was possibly Fiorentina’s greatest player ever.
His 20 league goals helped Roma win their first Scudetto in 18 years, which remains their most recent Serie A championship, hence the price was justified.
The top 10 is completed by the first goalkeeper we’ve discussed. In a transaction that saw another goalkeeper, Neto, move the opposite way and was, much like the Pjanic trade, as much about creative accounting as it was about bolstering the squad, Valencia spent €35 million to recruit Jasper Cillessen from Barcelona in June 2019.
Biggest Transfer Fees For Players Over-30
|2018||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||Juventus||€100m|
|2022||Casemiro||Real Madrid||Manchester United||€70m|
|2022||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||Barcelona||€45m|
|2017||Leonardo Bonucci||Juventus||AC Milan||€42m|
|2018||Radja Nainggolan||Roma||Inter Milan||€38m|
The fact that some of the previous transfers in the top 10 for over-30s didn’t pan out exactly as expected, from being merely lackluster to outright disasters, is a reoccurring theme. Casemiro being the exception is what United will be hoping for.