Highest Release Clauses in Football History

Mon 11 January 2021 | 12:30

In this article we take a look at some of the highest release clauses in the history of football.

In today’s football, major football clubs don't like to lose their star players, so they put in release clauses that never seem to be paid. Up to one billion euros would be demanded in some cases! Now you might think will there ever be any clubs willing to pay such fees to sign a player? Well, there are some clubs willing to do that!

In 2017,


moved from FC Barcelona to

Paris Saint-Germain

for 222 million euros - a transfer that was made possible by a release clause. A few years ago, it seemed impossible that such large amounts would be paid for footballers. Also because of this trend, the release clauses of top stars are arranged at the highest amounts.

Spanish labour law specifies that employees can leave their contracts of employment at any time. This also applies to professional footballers. Because of this, Spanish clubs are legally required to include release clauses in their players' contracts.

In order to limit the attempts of other European clubs to lure away their players, these release clauses are set in unrealistic amounts. This rule also applies in


. In


, however, release clauses are not allowed. In




, exit clauses are allowed but not legally binding.

The Biggest Release Clauses In the history of Football

In this article of SportMob, we have created a list of highest buyout clause in football ever, so stay tuned to see which players have the highest release clauses in football history.

Joao Felix, 350 million Euros

It was in the summer transfer window of 2019 that Atletico Madrid announced the successful signing of the young Portuguese player Joao Felix from


. To sign the player, they had activated his release clause in the amount of 120 million euros. This made then 19-year old Felix the most expensive

Atletico Madrid

signing ever, surpassing Thomas Lemar's transfer fee by 50 million euros.

And because Madrid was planning long-term with the Portuguese player, the clause in Joao Felix's new contract has also been set accordingly high. According to a report in AS, the talented youngster will be allowed to leave Atletico for a fixed transfer fee of 350 million euros. This also makes Joao Felix the player with the highest exit clause in Atletico's squad.

Ousmane Dembele, 400 Million Euros

Ousmane Dembele (FC Barcelona) once transferred from Dortmund to the Catalans for a rumoured 120 million euros plus bonuses. At the time, Barca and Dembele agreed on a release clause of 400 million euros, which places him in our list of

players with the highest buyout clauses in soccer history


He is one of the best young talents in football today and many consider him to be amongst the top ten wonderkids. Many compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo when he was first signed for

Manchester United

. In the coming years we will definitely hear more of him.

Philippe Coutinho, 400 Million Euros

Philippe Coutinho was loaned out to

FC Bayern

for the 2019-20 season. The Munich club reportedly had a purchase option of 120 million euros. However, the official release clause for his Barca contract is 400 million euros. This amount places the Brazilian footballers in our list of highest release clauses in world football.

Philippe Coutinho is known for his technical qualities and versatility in midfield. His vision of the game and his sudden and powerful ball strikes are a threat to his opponents. Stay tuned to read more about players with

highest release clauses in football history


Arthur Melo, 400 Million Euros

FC Barcelona signed Brazilian Arthur Melo in 2018 for up to €40 million and included a €400 million buyout clause in the midfielder's contract. Thus guaranteeing the player's place in our list of the biggest release clauses in the history of football. However, Juventus signed Arthur Melo in exchange for

Miralem Pjanic

plus 72 million euros on a 5-year contract. His new release clause is not yet known.

Arthur is considered one of the greatest promising players in world football, compared to Xavi and Iniesta. He is a talented midfielder who stands out for his quality passes. Another of his characteristics is his ability to take the ball off the line and try to make triangles with his teammates, which makes him a real danger close to the opponent's penalty area. He is a creative and skilled player with the ball at his feet. He has an excellent vision of play and quality in passing.

Frankie de Jong, 400 Million Euros

In the summer transfer window of 2019, Barca signed the much sought-after Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman signed a contract until 2024, but the contract could be terminated for a payment of 400 million euros. Frankie de Jong is the only Dutch footballer in our list of highest release clauses in football history.

In October 2020, the 23-year-old extended his contract until 30 June 2026; his €400 million buy-out clause remained intact. A flexible player, he can act as a box-to-box midfielder, central midfielder, defensive midfielder, regista, and center back. He has characterized himself as just a footballer "who loves to get the ball a lot, and play possession." He was credited for his mixture of defensive consistency and the willingness to play. He often joined Matthijs de Ligt in the center-back, in Ajax. As a center back, he shied away from making fouls, displayed excellent sense of position, and also won possession.

Sergi Roberto, 500 Million Euros

The next player in our list of highest release clauses in world football is the Spanish footballer Sergi Roberto. If any club wants to avoid negotiations with Barca to sign Sergi Roberto, a payment of 500 million euros would be required.

Fast, technical and hard-working, the young midfielder is an excellent passer. His game intelligence allows him to see his teammates' movements more clearly. Roberto is also physically strong. His great versatility allows him to play almost any position. During the 2015-2016 season, he played in seven different positions for Barcelona.

Gerard Pique, 500 Million Euros

One of the most famous players and another Barca player in our list of highest buyout clause in football ever is Gerard Pique. The FC Barcelona veteran has an exit clause worth half a billion euros - but the Spanish centre-back has repeatedly stressed that he wants to end his career with the Catalans.

In central defence, the 193 cm tall Piqué is valued above all for his heading strength and positioning. With his ball handling and vision of the game, Piqué cleverly initiates his team's build-up play and often advances to the opponent's penalty area, especially in set-pieces, for example in the 2009/10 Champions League semi-final second leg against Inter Milan, when he repeatedly intervened in attacking play and ultimately scored an eye-catching, technically demanding goal to make the final score 1-0. His style of play earned him the nickname Piquenbauer, in reference to Franz Beckenbauer.

Stay tuned to read more about players with

highest release clauses in football history


Gareth Bale, 500 Million Euros

The only Welsh player in the list of players with the highest buyout clauses in soccer history, is Gareth Bale. If you wanted to sign the Welsh star player Gareth Bale, you'd have to spend half a billion euros. The buy-out clause of this legendary

Real Madrid

player who is currently on loan at Tottenham Hotspurs, is 500 million euros.

Bale is regarded as one of the greatest talents to emerge from the Premier League at the time and today's football, having been credited with numerous awards, such as the BBC's Carwyn James Award and the Premier League's Best Player Award - the fourth Welshman to win it - which he won twice, joining the select list of two-time champions formed by Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo. Now you probably agree that he deserves to be in our list of

highest release clauses in world football


Lionel Messi, 700 Million Euros

Probably the best footballer in our list of

the biggest release clauses in the history of football

is Lionel Messi, the Argentinian legendary footballer who has amazed the world since emerging from the youth ranks of Barcelona until today. A payment of 700 million euros could see six-time world footballer Lionel Messi opt out of his contract with FC Barcelona.

Messi is considered an excellent dribbler who can control the ball easily even at high speed. In addition, he is said to have a high level of intelligence and a great vision of the pitch. Messi is said to be able to assert himself against several players even in seemingly hopeless situations. Real Zaragoza coach José Aurelio Gay described his style of play as "It was like watching Maradona play again. Only this time he was more agile and clearly faster."

Stay tuned to read more about players with highest release clauses in football history.

Marco Asensio, 700 Million Euros

Another Real Madrid player in this list of

highest buyout clause in football ever


Marco Asensio

. Some experts are already talking about the 24-year-old Marco Asensio as Cristiano Ronaldo's successor. The Spanish top talent regularly makes a splash in the jersey of the Madrid team. His reward: a contract extension until 2023 - including a release clause of 700 million euros. Fun Fact: This makes Asensio as expensive as Lionel Messi.

Considered at the time as one of the Spanish youth players with the greatest potential, he was selected by Futbol Draft as one of the best 22 youth players in


in 2015, and among the best 11 in 2016. Marco Asensio has superb ball handling and very good passing quality for his age. He has very good technical control and plays a very important part in the game. His ball control allows him to make lone strikes on counter-attacks.

Isco, 700 Million Euros

And the next Real Madrid player in our list of players with the highest buyout clauses in soccer history! Any club who wants to sign dribbling artist Isco would have to pay a whopping 700 million euros. As you can see, the royals are no longer taking any risks when it comes to extending the contracts of their players. No Real star can avoid high exit clauses any more.

A fast, skillful and creative player, Isco is known for his natural ability to pick out perfect, pinpoint passes, and to effortlessly dribble between two or three opponents, or kick into the corner. His ability to foresee moves, anticipate space and execute his performances are his most common traits.

Brahim Diaz, 750 Million Euros

Another Spanish player in our list of highest release clauses in football history is the youngster Brahim Diaz. Although Brahim Diaz does not play a significant role under Real coach Zinedine Zidane, yet interested clubs would have to pay €750 million should Real Madrid not agree to sell him. He is currently on a season long loan at AC Milan.

Brahim Diaz is considered as one of the promising Spanish talents and as just he is 21 years old, many pundits believe that he will eventually become one of the best Spanish strikers of his time. Stay tuned to read more about players with highest release clauses in football history.

Federico Valverde, 750 Million Euros

One of the South American players in this list of

highest release clauses in football history

is Federico Valverde. As one of the best young footballers in the world at the moment, Federico Valverde seems to be getting ready to become a key player of the Real Madrid team in the next few years. He is one of the most promising talents of Real Madrid. The


player has a 750 million euro release clause, thanks to a new contract signed at the end of 2018, which avoids any possible claims.

The biggest strength of Valverde is his flexibility. The fact that he can play in different positions means that he often keeps his spot in Real Madrid's starting eleven, no matter which system Zinedine Zidane picks. In a 4-3-3, Valverde plays in front of Casemiro and alongside Luka Modric or Toni Kroos; in a 4-4-2, he usually plays on the right, backing up the relevant central midfielder while moving forward from a wide position.

Luka Modric, 750 Million Euros

The only Croatian player to feature in our list of highest release clauses in football history is Luka Modric. If any club in the world wants to buy Real Madrid's star Luka Modric (contract until 2021), they will have to fork out 750 million euros to do so. That is something you just cannot get enough of: 750 million euros for a footballer!

Modric is proficient with both his right and left foot. He has a powerful shot, which is why he scores most of his goals from outside the box. He is able to play all positions in the centre of the field, also in the defensive midfield position. During his time at Dinamo Zagreb, Modrić often switched positions in the centre, although he mostly played the role of left midfielder. Modric has excelled as an attacking midfielder, making superb passes both up and down the pitch, which has led many experts to refer to Modric as 'the Croatian Pirlo', comparing him to Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo. He is also very good at rebounding.

Antoine Griezmann, 800 Million Euros



player to feature in our list of highest release clauses in football history is the French star, Antoine Griezmann. Any club that would want to sign Antoine Griezmann from FC Barcelona would have to throw plenty of money around. The 2018 World Cup winner has a release clause of 800 million euros.

Ioan Lupescu, Chief Technical Officer of UEFA, who chaired the group of technical experts nominating Griezmann as Euro 2016's best player, says Griezmann "works very hard for the team and boasts vision, great technique and good finishing" and labeled him "a danger in every match he played" Griezmann has been identified as a "team player" and a fast, modern, and flexible left-footed striker, with an eye for goals, and also is able to play in many attacking positions in and behind the main offensive line due to his technical abilities, capacity to link-up play between the strikers and midfielders and drop deep, or to score several goals.

Stay tuned to read more about players with highest release clauses in football history.

Karim Benzema, 1000 Million Euros

The second French player to appear in our list of highest release clauses in football history and obviously the most expensive of them is the legendary striker Karim Benzema. Karim Benzema has been cheering for Real Madrid with his great performances since 2009. A constant in the attacking department of the royals, Benzema would cost a billion euros if any club wants to activate his release clause.

However his contract is expiring at the end of current season and we will have to wait and see if Real Madrid is going to offer him a new deal, and what will be his new release clause this time. As he is 33 years old now and some claim that he is well past his peak days, it is highly unlikely that he will have another billion euro release clause in his yet to be offered contract.


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source: SportMob