Football: 5 most expensive transfers after Juventus snatch Higuain for €90 million

Gonzalo Higuain celebrating a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Chievo Verona vs SSC Napoli at Bentegodi stadium in Verona, Italy.
Gonzalo Higuain celebrating a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Chievo Verona vs SSC Napoli at Bentegodi stadium in Verona, Italy. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (AFP) - Italian champions Juventus splashed out €90 million (S$134.2 million) to prise Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain away from Napoli on Tuesday. The figure is the third-largest in history.

Here are the five most expensive transfer moves in history:

1. Gareth Bale (Wal), Tottenham to Real Madrid, £85.1 million (S$151.84 milion), 2013


Gareth Bale celebrates scoring the first goal for Real Madrid against Manchester City during the Uefa Champions League Semi Final second leg. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Welsh forward'sperformances for an attractive Spurs side spurred Real to launch a massive bid. The English side could not refuse such advances and let their star man go. He has built on his career at the Santiago Bernabeu with two Champions League titles, scoring in the final of the first of the two against Atletico Madrid. His experience in the Spanish Primera Liga helped him lead Wales in their memorable run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals. Bale also scored a stunning winner in the Copa del Rey final against Real's arch-rivals Barcelona in 2014.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Por), Manchester United to Real Madrid, £83.7 million, 2009


Cristiano Ronaldo gestures to supporters after winning the Uefa Champions League final on May 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Real Madrid came calling for the Portuguese master with what was then a world-record bid. Ronaldo was keen to join anyhow, and since arriving in the Spanish capital, he has become their all-time top scorer and consistently set records in the Champions League, which he has won three times in his career, twice with Real. He has achieved all this despite hot competition from Barcelona's Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi, who still leads in the overall La Liga scoring charts.

3. Gonzalo Higuain (Arg), Napoli to Juventus, €90 million (S$134.2 million), 2016

 

Juventus paid the biggest fee for a domestic transfer in history when they matched Higuain's buy-out clause of €90 million to bring the Argentinian to Turin from Napoli on Tuesday. The 28-year-old former Real Madrid striker top-scored in Serie A last season with a record-equalling 36 goals as Napoli finished second to Juve. Coach Massimiliano Allegri led Juventus to a record fifth consecutive league title last term, but he will be hoping that Higuain can help his side improve in Europe, after following up their 2015 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona with a last-16 exit at the hands of Bayern Munich.

4. Luis Suarez (Uru), Liverpool to Barcelona, £75 million, 2014


Luis Suarez in action against Sevilla during the Copa del Rey Final. PHOTO: REUTERS

Barcelona did not hesitate to sign the striker despite his shame at the World Cup, when for the third time, he bit an opponent, this time Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. As a result, Suarez was unable to play competitively or train with them for four months, but once his ban was over, he repaid their faith. No disgraceful incidents have followed and he ended his first season with them by scoring in the Champions League final win over Juventus. His trident attacking partnership with Messi and Neymar yielded a La Liga record for three forwards of 122 goals that campaign. He scored a hat-trick to seal the league title for Barca last term and went on to complete the domestic double in a season in which he grabbed a staggering 58 goals.

5. Neymar (Bra), Santos to Barcelona, £71.5 million, 2013


Neymar (left) vies with Espanyol's defender Victor Alvarez (centre) and Espanyol's defender Javier Lopez (right) during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Espanyol. PHOTO: AFP

Off the pitch alleged shenanigans over how much went to the player, his family and to the selling club itself have dogged Barcelona over the transfer of Neymar, who on the pitch has shone for them in their brilliant three-pronged attack. The Brazilian shrugged off an injury that ended his 2014 World Cup campaign early to play a pivotal role in Barcelona's Champions League success. Like Suarez, he scored in that final against Juventus, and collected La Liga and Copa del Rey winners' medals. There was no let up last term either as he scored in the Cup final against Sevilla. Legal problems still hover over the transfer despite a high court judge ruling that he did not believe it could be pursued in the courts - as the prosecutor takes issue with that decision.