Here are the five most significant transfers in football history before Messi’s arrival in Paris – Ouest-France evening edition


It’s a thunderclap in the world of football and even sport. Lionel Messi will indeed become a Paris Saint-Germain player. It will be one of the biggest transfers in the history of football, which has yet known illustrious precedents.

Lionel Messi will therefore sign this Monday at Paris Saint-Germain. His arrival in Ligue 1 is as unlikely as it is magnificent and exciting for all of France, while he was considered « untransferable » throughout his career. He is already without doubt one of the most significant transfers in football history.

Obviously, when it comes to the Ballons d’Or record holder and best player in the world, PSG is sure to sign one of the greatest shots in modern football. Five seasons after the arrival of Neymar from Barcelona to Paris and which still remains the most expensive transfer in history with 222 million euros.

Read also: PSG. Messi, Ramos, Hakimi… Despite sluggish finances, the club’s exceptional transfer window

Before Lionel Messi, other players have therefore marked the history of the round ball by changing clubs. From Diego Maradona to Ronaldinho via Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, discover the most significant transfers in football.

1. Diego Maradona discovers Neapolitan madness

After two seasons at FC Barcelona where “el Pibe de Oro” struggled to acclimatize to European football, the Argentine striker decides to change air. Angry with Josep Lluis Nunez, then president of Barça, Diego Maradona leaves the Catalan club through the back door. In his last match, he also caused one of the biggest fights on a football field during the 1984 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.

Diego Maradona signed in Naples for the equivalent of 12 million euros in 1984 (Photo: AFP)

Author of 38 goals in 58 games, the passage of the Argentine to Barça will not leave an unforgettable memory even if it is impossible to remain insensitive to his talent. Diego Maradona then takes the direction of Naples in Serie A. Transferred for the equivalent of 12 million euros, he represents the biggest transfer of the time. The beginning of a love story between the Neapolitan city and « Diego ». He will play seven seasons there (259 games, 115 goals), winning two Scudettos, an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup. The love story ends badly, as it often does with Maradona. The Argentinian tested positive for cocaine and was suspended by the authorities. He bounced back at Sevilla FC in 1992 but never regained his level.

Read also: Messi at PSG. Duration, salary, bonuses… The details of an XXL contract

2. Luis Figo goes to the enemy

Few players dare to pass into the enemy club in general. Especially when it comes to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Yet this is what Luis Figo did. In 2000, the Portuguese decided to leave the Catalan club after five seasons wearing the Blaugrana jersey. Real Madrid and Florentino Perez, just president, are looking to build an exceptional squad and had promised their supporters a transfer window worthy of their ambitions.

Luis Figo signed to Real Madrid in 2000 for the sum of 61 million euros. (Photo: AFP)

Word kept by paying the sum of 61 million euros. A choice that paid off since the Portuguese won the golden ball that same year and helped the club to win two La Liga and a Champions League. He left Real Madrid in 2005 after 245 games and 56 goals for Inter Milan.

Read also: SURVEY. Messi at PSG: is Paris right to recruit the Argentine star?

3. Zinedine Zidane completes the Galactics

Elected as president in 2000, Florentino Perez decides to build one of the greatest teams in history at Real Madrid. A year after the arrival of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane signed for Real Madrid in 2001 after five seasons at Juventus Turin. The 1998 Golden Ball never managed to win the Champions League with the Italian club and is convinced that he must join the Merengue club to finally win the Cup with the big ears.

Zinedine Zidane signed to Real Madrid in 2001 for the sum of 75 million euros. (Photo: AFP)

To afford the services of the French midfielder, Real Madrid pays the sum of 75 million euros. A new record after Luis Figo’s 61 million euros the previous year. Zinedine Zidane made club history and ended his career there in 2006 after 227 games and 49 goals before returning as a coach in 2016 for an exceptional record.

Read also: Liga. Real Madrid files a complaint against the president of the Spanish league

4. Ronaldinho leaves Paris for Barcelona

Ronaldinho experienced the opposite of what Lionel Messi is doing today. Arrived in 2001 from Gremio, the Brazilian genius left PSG two seasons later to join FC Barcelona. For two seasons, « Ronnie » impresses the whole of France and already makes Europe dream. The Catalan club then disbursed the sum of 27 million euros to secure the services of the technician.

Ronaldinho signed to FC Barcelona in 2003 for the sum of 27 million euros. (Photo: AFP)

In Catalonia, he won two Liga and a Champions League. He was crowned Golden Ball in 2005 and sits at the top of world football. He finally left the club in 2008 after five seasons (207 games, 94 goals) to join AC Milan. At 28, his healthy lifestyle will prevent him from regaining the level that was his a few years earlier.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo, a record transfer

At 24, the Portuguese has just won his first Golden Ball and his third English Championship with Manchester United. Already at the top of his game, Cristiano Ronaldo decides to join Real Madrid for one of the biggest transfers in history. While the record for the transfer of Zinedine Zidane for 75 million euros from Juventus to the club Merengue has been holding since 2001, the Portuguese pulverizes it in 2009. Florentino Perez puts 94 million on the table and revolutionizes the world of football with this transfer.

Cristiano Ronaldo during his presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009. (AFP)

As soon as he arrives, Cristiano Ronaldo puts everyone in agreement. The love story between the Merengue club and the Portuguese star is obvious. In nine seasons for Real Madrid, he won two La Liga, one Spanish Cup and four Champions Leagues, which earned him the Golden Ball four times, bringing his total to five individual accolades. In July 2018, the Portuguese took over the management of Juventus Turin for 100 million euros. His record with Real Madrid (450 goals in 438 games) is exceptional and will forever go down in football history.

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