Romelu Lukaku has moved up the list of football players with the highest total transfer costs thanks to his return to Inter Milan on loan this summer.
In this article, we’ll look at the ten players who have received millions of dollars from major league clubs throughout their careers in the list below. It’s interesting to note that only a few of them have been able to justify the astronomical sum of money spent on them.
Without further ado, here are the ten players who have received the most transfer fees overall throughout history:
Romelu Lukaku – €333.6m
While Lukaku has frequently caused controversy during his career, he has an outstanding track record of scoring goals everywhere he goes.
In 2011, the striker cost £18 million to transfer from Anderlecht to Chelsea, and in 2014, he was transferred to Everton for a profit of £10 million.
In 2017, Manchester United paid the Toffees £76 million for his services before selling him to Inter Milan in a deal worth £74 million two years later.
With 64 goals in 95 games for Inter, the 28-year-old silenced his detractors, and Chelsea agreed to spend £97.5 million to bring him back to Stamford Bridge in 2021.
The Belgium has now completed an €8 million (£6.8 million/$8.4 million) loan move back to Inter Milan.
Neymar JR – €310m
After excelling for Santos, Neymar signed a £48.6 million contract with Barcelona in 2013 and later formed a lethal attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
The attacker was later acquired by PSG for a world record amount of £198 million in the summer of 2017, a move that shocked Europe and forced Barcelona to go into debt trying to find a replacement.
The 30-year-old hasn’t been mentioned in connection with a transfer in the intervening years, but if he did ever leave PSG, you can probably expect a sizable transfer fee.
Cristiano Ronaldo – €245m
Ronaldo was acquired by Manchester United for just £12.2 million from Sporting Lisbon, where he quickly rose to become one of the best players in the world.
After being purchased by Real Madrid for £80 million in 2009, the winger excelled in Spain, scoring 450 goals in 438 games across all competitions.
The 36-year-old finished a £99.2 million transfer to Juventus in 2018. While playing for Los Blancos, he won two La Liga championships and four Champions Leagues.
Ronaldo has returned to Old Trafford after leaving Juventus for a pittance of £12.86 million.
The 37-year-old hasn’t had a perfect season at United, but we assume he’s brought in a lot of cash, which is the ultimate test if you know the Glazers.
Alvaro Morata – €189m
One of the greatest nomads in football, Morata has already made four significant moves between some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Real Madrid used their buy-back clause two years after selling the striker to Juventus for £15.8 million after he graduated from their academy.
Before sealing a £58 million move back to Spain with Atletico Madrid in 2020, he had a disastrous tenure at Chelsea.
The 28-year-old was on loan at Juventus for the 2020–21 campaign, and the short-term agreement was extended to June 2022.
Antoine Griezmann – €184m
Griezmann completed a £24 million transfer to Atletico Madrid in 2014 after rising through the ranks at Real Sociedad.
Under Diego Simeone’s direction, the France international went on to become one of the top forwards in the world, tallying 133 goals in 257 games.
The 30-year-£107 old’s million buyout clause was exercised by Barcelona in 2019, but he struggled to match his Atletico prowess there.
Griezmann was loaned back to Atletico in August 2021 with a permanent deal worth £33.4 million expected at the end of the season as Barca desperately tried to pay off their staggering debt.
Philippe Coutinho – €180.3m
Five years after moving from Inter Milan to Liverpool for just £8.5 million, Coutinho was sold to Barcelona for a profit of £133.5 million.
When Coutinho scored two goals against Barcelona while on loan at Bayern Munich in 2019–20, it was clear the Brazilian international had failed to live up to expectations at the Camp Nou.
He is currently playing for Aston Villa in the Premier League alongside his old colleague Steven Gerrard.
Kylian Mbappe – €180m
Mbappe still makes the top ten list despite having only made one transfer in his career.
He rose through the ranks at Monaco and made a name for himself in 2016–17 before deciding to accept a season-long loan offer from PSG.
They later made the transfer permanent for €180 million, and the France international has lived up to expectations by amassing 202 goals and 106 assists in 281 games as of this writing.
Angel Di Maria – €129.5m
Di Maria cost £7 million to transfer from Rosario Central to Benfica in 2007, and his outstanding play earned him a £20.3 million transfer to Real Madrid in 2010.
To sign Di Maria in 2014, Manchester United shattered the British transfer record. However, a year later, he was allowed to leave the team for a sizable loss.
The Argentine international, who is currently in his seventh season at PSG, has stated he will depart in the summer.
Ousmane Dembele – €175m
Borussia Dortmund, who has a remarkable eye for youthful talent, acquired Dembele from Rennes in 2016 for under £13 million.
After only a year in Germany, the winger moved to Barcelona in a £135.5 million deal to replace Neymar, enabling Dortmund to make six outstanding acquisitions.
Over the past few years, he has struggled with injuries, and Barcelona is said to have expressed some worries about his conduct off the field.
When Barca told Dembele to look for a new team in January 2022 after rejecting all contract renewal offers, things seemed to have reached a breaking point.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – €169.1m
The man who has played for so many clubs that it is difficult to keep track of him is next. Ibrahimovic, one of the top scorers over the previous 15 years, is more well-known for his ego than for his skill. But there’s a reason he’s represented some of Europe’s top teams.
His list of teams includes Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, PSG, and Man United. Although he has never cost more than €27 million in a single transfer, with the exception of his Barcelona transfer, the sheer number of clubs he has represented raises his overall total.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a legendary figure in football who won’t soon be forgotten.