Let us take a look at La Liga most expensive signings ever and see who they are?
As one of the most prestigious leagues in Europe, La Liga has seen many great players over the years. and as is the nature of the transfers, the fee required to bring these world class players to La Liga seems to be going up every year, resulting in some outrageous transfer fees among La Liga most expensive signings ever.
As we previously mentioned in our article regarding the highest players’ salaries in La Liga, there is a huge gap and disparity of income between Real Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of the teams, which in turn gives them the opportunity to sign better players and dominate the league as they have been in recent years. but now let us take a look at the most expensive La Liga signings ever and see who they are:
It’s to be noted that every player on the list of most expensive La Liga transfers of all time is either from Barcelona or Real Madrid, which speaks to that disparity of income issue we talked about above. So who actually are these players:
First up in La Liga most expensive transfers ever is Luiz Suarez, who became one of the greatest ever forwards in La Liga history, despite the relative short time he played for Barcelona. Although Suarez left Barcelona to join Atletico Madrid just recently, and on rather bad terms, his time at the club will be remembered by his great partnership with Lionel Messi and Neymar, as part of the famous MSN front three.
Luiz Suarez, who established himself as a great talent at Ajax, moved to Liverpool in 2010 and spent 4 season at the club, slowly becoming one of the best strikers in the world, especially in his last two season where there was much speculation about his future at Liverpool. He helped Liverpool mount a title challenge in the 2013-14 season, scoring 31 goals in 33 Premier League games. After Liverpool became 2nd that season, Suarez finally got his dream move to Barcelona to play alongside Messi and Neymar.
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Barcelona paid Liverpool €81.72 million for the transfer of Luiz Suarez to Nou Camp, making it one of the La Liga most expensive signings ever, but Suarez soon proved he was worth every penny, as his goal scoring genius, Neymar’s creativity and street-like football and Messi’s all-around perfection on the pitch created one of the most mesmerizing attacking trios in football history. Suarez scored 198 goals for Barcelona in 283 games, becoming their 3rd all-time goal scorer, and helping Barca win 4 La Liga,4 Copa del Rey and a Champions League trophy.
The youngest player amongst La Liga’s all-time most expensive signings is Frankie de Jong. His appearance on this list is not a surprise since de Jong was the subject of a bidding war between various wealthy European clubs. This was also one of the reasons that de Jong is one of the top earners in La Liga. Frankie de Jong established himself as one of Europe’s top talents by being a part of the Ajax team that reached Europa League final and Champions League semi-final in consecutive season.
He also received high praise from critics because of his performances and was likened to the great Franz Beckenbauer or Barca legend Andres Iniesta, for his ability to progress the ball forward into the attack, but he knows more than anyone that he has to do a lot more if he wants to be deserving of such high praise. Although he did have a somewhat forgettable first season at Barcelona, as he did not seem to adjust to life at Camp Nou straight away.
The bidding war that involved financial heavyweights like PSG and Manchester City, resulted in Barcelona paying Ajax a fee that could rise up to €86 million, which makes the transfer one of La Liga most expensive signings ever. De Jong failed to pick up any trophies last year but it is early days and that could change. But with the amount of money his transfer cost and the €21 million he earns each year, Barcelona has to wish that they made the right investment in him
Here’s a transfer that made as much problems for Barcelona as it did benefit them, bringing Neymar and making him one of the most expensive signings in La Liga history. It’s obvious that on the pitch it panned out really well for Barcelona but off the pitch, because of Barcelona’s dishonesty about the transfer sum and the method they acquired Neymar’s services, the transfer has caused huge problems, including lawsuits and various fines.
As far as Neymar’s performances goes though, no one can fault the Brazilian as his partnership with Lionel Messi and later Luiz Suarez made one of the most potent forward lines in recent memory, helping Barcelona to several trophies including 2 La Liga titles, 3 Copa del Rey and 1 Champions League trophy, which marked a second Treble in Barca’s history. Like many of his countrymen, Neymar is an entertainer and although he is an intelligent footballer, its Neymar’s brand of street football that made him so special and added that extra beauty to Barcelona’s football.
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The fee that Barcelona paid Santos back in 2013 which made Neymar’s transfer one of La Liga most expensive signings ever, was first reported to be €57.1 million but later through investigations and lawsuits, it was reported that the total sum was somewhere around €88 million, with the majority of the sum going to Neymar’s parents instead of going to Santos. His time at Barcelona came to an end in 2017, after 186 matches, in which he scored 105 goals, when he decided to move to PSG in a transfer that cost them €222 million, which made it the most expensive transfer ever.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of only 2 players working today who are worth practically any price, with the other one being Lionel Messi. The amount of money that Real Madrid invested in procuring Ronaldo’s services and his wages, although huge by other club’s standards, were practically nothing compared to the profit, glory and even further recognition he brought to the club.
Joining from Manchester United at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Cristiano Ronaldo spent 9 glorious seasons at Real Madrid. Upon arriving in Madrid, Ronaldo brought his game to another level, breaking records constantly and scoring in almost every game. He became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal scorer with 450 goals in438 matches, miles ahead of Raul who was second with 323 goals, and he helped usher in a new era of European dominance, which the club was pursuing aggressively.
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win 2 La Liga titles and 2 Copa del Reys but more importantly 4 Champions League trophies, 3 of which happened consecutively. All of which made Real Madrid the undisputed kings of Europe. This makes his €94 million transfer fee, which is one of La Liga most expensive signings ever, almost a no brainer. A value which Real Madrid even got compensated on when he left the club for Juventus in 2018 for the amount of €100 million. But one thing is for certain and that is the fact that players like Cristiano Ronaldo are just invaluable as their services and achievements could not really be judged by the money they cost the club.
Back in 2013, Barcelona had just brought Neymar from Santos and Real Madrid were looking to bolster their attack so what better way to recruit a world-class player than looking at the Premier League, since it worked out so well for them in Cristiano Ronaldo’s case. And so Real Madrid decided to bring in Gareth Bale from Tottenham and break the world transfer record which they paid for Cristiano Ronaldo, making Gareth Bale the most expensive player in the world as well as one of the most expensive La Liga signings ever.
It’s hard to really judge Bale’s time at Real Madrid. He has had incredible highs in that time but has also been injured numerous times and has been fell out of the favor with fans in the past couple of years. so one could easily think that his transfer was a flop but when you look at his numbers, performances and what he achieved with Real Madrid, which makes him one of the most decorated British players ever, then you realize that everything is not as black and white.
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Bale scored 105 goals in 251 matches during his 7 year stay at Madrid and has just recently moved back to his old club Tottenham on loan. The transfer fee that Real Madrid paid for him which was around €101 million and made him one of La Liga most expensive signings ever seems reasonable when you consider that he helped Real Madrid win 2 La Liga, 1 Copa del Rey and 4 Champions League trophies. One thing is for certain though, and that is the fact that Bale considers his time at Madrid to be over.
The top 5 La Liga most expensive transfers ever could all be contenders of biggest transfer flops of recent years and it all starts here with the former Chelsea star Eden Hazard. The Belgian superstar Hazard never shied away from revealing his dream of playing for Real Madrid and so expectations were high when he joined them.
But since then, Hazard has been nothing but a shadow of his former self, which was mainly caused by his numerous injuries which plagued him since last season. At an age where he has to be at the peak of his career, Hazard just can’t afford to have off seasons like he did last year, because there may be not much time left for him at the top of the game and Real Madrid can’t afford for a player of Hazard’s caliber to not perform either.
So as Hazard goes into the second year of his 5-year contract, which sees him earn almost €32 million a year, after a transfer that cost Real Madrid €115 million and could very well rise to €146 million, the jury is still out on his time with Los Blancos. 2 goals in 26 games is just not enough to justify him being one of La Liga most expensive signings ever which leaves Eden Hazard with a lot to prove, both to himself and his doubters.
After years of rumors that linked Antoine Griezmann with a move to Barcelona, the former Atletico Madrid player joined them in the summer of 2019, but he has not been having a good time of it at Camp Nou ever since. In the past 5 years, Griezmann seemed to be just behind Messi and Ronaldo in terms of quality but since joining Barcelona he has only shown a fraction of what he Is capable of.
Griezmann, who is a World Cup winner, was deemed by many at Barcelona to be the player that can ease the huge blow of Lionel Messi’s departure in the next few years but he doesn’t seem to have found his feet at Barca yet but there are hopeful signs under the management of Ronald Koeman this year. Barcelona just can’t afford a player with his kind of transfer fee and weekly wages to perform badly, especially in the club’s current financial situation.
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Since last season Griezmann has scored 19 goals in 60 matches but he needs to up his game to show that he is worth the €120 million price tag that Barcelona paid for him, which is one of La Liga highest transfer fee paid ever. Especially since he makes more than €34 million a year. The good thing is that he seems to be enjoying himself a lot more, and if he gets going then Barcelona has a real chance of winning trophies soon.
In what seems to be a theme amongst La Liga’s all-time most expensive signings, Joao Felix is another player who has yet to justify his price tag. And for someone so young, this price tag could have been a huge pressure and a burden, but thankfully the 2019 Golden Boy winner seems to have adjusted to life in Spain and is definitely enjoying a better season now in his 2nd year at Atletico Madrid, having nearly reached his goal tally of last season in 10 games.
Felix, who is 21 and a product of Benfica youth system, broke out into Benfica’s first team in the 2018-19 season, where he scored 20 goals in 43 games, and naturally his strong performances there attracted numerous suitors across Europe but in the end he chose Atletico Madrid, which is still seems like an odd choice since he is a young attacker in need of further development and the club are famous for their notoriously defensive tactics.
Nonetheless, Felix joined Atletico from Benfica in what was a reported amount of €127.2 million at the start of 2019-20 season, making him the 3rd La Liga most expensive signings ever. Although he did not by all means have a bad season last year, he didn’t at all justify his price tag last year. But he seems to have settled well in Madrid, as he is having a far better season this year, having already scored 7 goals in 10 matches and only 2 behind his last year’s tally. It’s too early to judge if Joao Felix’ transfer was a success or a failure, but the early signs are promising, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Another extravagant transfer saga which happened during the peculiar reign of Bartomeu as Barcelona’s chairman is the transfer Ousmane Dembele from Borrussia Dortmund. The Frenchman was, and still is, one of the most talented young players in world football in recent years, but the numerous injuries he has picked up has put a question mark on his transfer which was one of La Liga highest transfer fee paid ever.
A truly ambidextrous player, Dembele seems to have the ability to run and dribble past any defender. Add to that his blistering pace and his ability to score from long range, often outrageous goals and you’ll end up with a perfect candidate to groom for the future of Barcelona in case Messi leaves or retires, right?! Well Dembele’s time at Barcelona have not gone as smoothly as he has lost a staggering amount of almost 500 days because of injuries which is nearly half the time he has been a Barcelona player. There is almost no way that a high profile transfer like this could turn worse, both for the player and the club.
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When Dembele is fit though, he usually delivers, which somehow makes his injuries worse because Barca fans know how much of a potential he really has. This season has started well for him, as he has not yet picked up any serious injuries, and he will be hoping to continue that to get a chance to play at the Euros and prove everyone wrong by showing he is totally worth his price tag of €130 million and being one of La Liga most expensive signings ever.
So we arrive at the No. 1 most expensive La Liga transfers of all time and that is the much controversial transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barcelona in the January of 2018. The transfer was an oddity, not only for the price that Barcelona paid, which seemed a lot more than Coutinho’s reported value, but also because Liverpool was a team on the rise and had just played in a Champions League final, and would later go on to win a Champions League and a Premier League, all of which Coutinho could have been a part of.
Nonetheless, Coutinho’s first 6 months at Barcelona came with a La Liga and Copa del Rey Double but in his second season there were growing criticism towards him, as fans thought that he didn’t push himself hard enough. Regardless he won his second La Liga title with the club but his time at Barcelona seemed to be over, as the club were looking to offload him in the summer.
They did just that in the summer of last year, where they loaned him out to Bayern Munich for a year with an option to buy. In a surprising turn of events, Coutinho came back to Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the Champions League and he embarrassed Barcelona by scoring 2 goals and providing an assist in what was an 8-2 victory for the Germans, he then went on to complete a Treble with Bayern Munich.
Philippe Coutinho has now returned to Barcelona and seems to be much more confident under the management of Ronald Koeman, he seems determined to show everyone that he is worth the €145 million Barcelona paid for his services, which makes him La Liga most expensive signing ever, but he has a long way to go to prove that!