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James, Zlatan and the Top 10 combined transfer fees of all time

The Colombia international now sits fourth in the rankings after completing his €10m loan move from Real Madrid to Bayern Munich

James Rodriguez may only be 26 years of age but, in terms of cumulative transfer fees, the Colombian is one of the most expensive players in history.

The attacking midfielder was unveiled as a Bayern Munich player on Wednesday, joining on a two-year loan from Real Madrid that will cost the Bavarians €5 million per season.

The 100 most expensive transfers ever

That means that, to date, James has now changed clubs five times for a grand total of €140.1m, which puts him fourth on the all-time standings, just €100,000 behind the 24-year-old Romelu Lukaku, who moved to Manchester United this week for €84.8m.

Rank Player Clubs Total
1 Angel Di Maria Rosario Central, Benfica, Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG €169.2m
2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, PSG, Manchester United €159.5m
3 Romelu Lukaku Anderlecht, Chelsea, West Brom, Everton, Manchester United €140.2m
4 James Rodriguez Envigado, Banfield, Porto, Monaco, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich €140.1m
5 Gonzalo Higuain River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus €140m
6 Nicolas Anelka PSG, Arsenal, Madrid, PSG, Liverpool, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai S’, Juventus, West Brom, Mumbai City €131.4m
7 Juan Sebastian Veron Estudiantes, Boca, Sampdoria, Parma, Lazio, Man Utd , Chelsea, Inter, Estudiantes, Brandsen, Estudiantes €129.7m
8 David Luiz Vitoria, Benfica, Chelsea, PSG, Chelsea €128.1m
9 Hernan Crespo River Plate, Parma, Lazio, Inter, Chelsea, Milan, Inter, Genoa, Parma €120.2m
10 Luis Suarez Nacional, Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona €117m

Disclaimer: Add-ons, bonuses and incentives have all been included in determining the fee for each transfer

Given his age (35) and, perhaps more importantly, his agent (Mino Raiola), it is hardly surprising that Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sits second in the standings, thanks in no small part to his whopping – but unsuccessful – €69.5m transfer from Inter to Barcelona in 2009.

The most expensive player, though, in terms of combined transfer fees, is Angel di Maria, the Argentine winger who, in the space of a year, flopped at Manchester United for €74.6m before then linking up with Paris Saint-Germain for €61.6m.

Angel Di Maria PSG

Elsewhere, Gonzalo Higuain’s €90m switch from Napoli to Juventus last summer is primarily responsible for the forward’s fifth-placed ranking, while it is no surprise to see Nicolas Anelka, Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo – three men who enjoyed peripatetic careers – all in the top 10.

Juventus sign Douglas Costa

Brazil defender David Luiz also features, on account of his back-and-forth between Chelsea and PSG, while Uruguay striker Luis Suarez sneaks in ahead of the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo thanks to his €82.3m move to Barcelona in 2014, after previously joining Liverpool from Ajax for €26.4m.

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New-look Argentina set for Messi-Dybala-Higuain front-line in 3-4-3

Coach Jorge Sampaoli has been implementing a new 3-4-3 system for Friday’s clash with Brazil, spearheaded by a thrilling attacking trio

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli looks set to unleash a completely new system on his debut in the dugout on Friday when he leads his side out against Brazil.

The old rivals meet at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour arrives in Australia.


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And former Chile and Sevilla coach Sampaoli has been working on a 3-4-3 approach in training this week, spearheaded by an attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.

Indications from Melbourne this week are that Nicolas Otamendi, Emanuel Mammana and Gabriel Mercado will make up the back-three. 

Barcelona man Javier Mascherano, who plays in defence for his club but midfield for his country, was set to move into the backline after being named in the squad as a defender, but was forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.

Lionel Messi Argentina 25032017

Ever Banega and Lucas Biglia will make up the central midfield duo, while Angel Di Maria and Eduardo Salvio will play wide.

This week Sampaoli has been working heavily on his team’s high-press, intent on introducing the same dynamic and exciting approach that brought him continental success with Universidad de Chile and a Copa America crown with Chile in 2015.

His new system should give freedom for Dybala and Messi to interchange and drift from their positions, while Higuain will remain central as a focal point for the team both when defending and attacking.

Brazil coach Tite has been working all week on how to counter a high-press ahead of what promises to be an enthralling clash at the sell-out MCG.

Who has scored the most goals in all competitions in 2016-17? Messi, Ronaldo and Europe’s top marksmen

Superstar frontmen from the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A posted some remarkable scoring numbers in the season just gone

The cream continues to rise to the top in Europe’s leading divisions, with the usual suspects once again filling their boots in front of goal to underline their value to their respective clubs and enhance their reputations as some of the finest players on the planet. Here, Goal takes a look at the leading frontmen from across the continent.


LIONEL MESSI


Lionel Messi Barcelona goals 16 17

The mercurial Argentine enjoyed another prolific campaign at Barcelona, moving past the 500-goal goal mark for the club – with the target found 507 times in 583 appearances.

Has now delivered eight successive seasons of 40+ goals, with his efforts in 2016-17 earning him the fourth Golden Shoe of a quite remarkable career.


EDINSON CAVANI


Edinson Cavani PSG goals 16 17

Stepped out of the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Paris Saint-Germain to prove his worth as a central striker, helping PSG to Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue glory to compensate for surrendering their Ligue 1 title.

Fell just one effort short of matching Ibrahimovic’s club-record haul of 50 in the French capital.


ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI


Robert Lewandowski Bayern Munich goals 16 17

Missed out on the Bundesliga top scorer award by one goal, but remains the most prolific marksman in Germany across all competitions, with the Pole a threat on the floor and in the air.

His 43-goal haul in 2016-17 – which included four hat-tricks – represents a personal best, while he has now plundered 30 in each of his last two German top-flight campaigns.


CRISTIANO RONALDO


Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid goals 16 17

Is only the second man, after eternal rival Messi, to have scored 25+ goals in eight successive La Liga seasons, having hit that mark on the final day to help wrap up a title triumph.

The 2016-17 campaign also saw the prolific Portuguese forward become the first man to reach 100 goals in Champions League competition – with a brace in the final helping Madrid to make history with back-to-back triumphs.


PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Dortmund goals 16 17

To have beaten Lewandowski to the Bundesliga top scorer award goes to show how prolific the Gabon international was over the course of the 2016-17 campaign.

He has come to epitomise the ‘fox in the box’ moniker, with all 72 of his Bundesliga efforts over the course of the last three seasons having come from inside the penalty area.


EDIN DZEKO


Edin Dzeko Roma goals 16 17

Collected the Capocannoniere in Serie A, having enjoyed a memorable return to prolific form to set a new personal best both in league outings and across all competitions.

Completes the set across Europe’s top five leagues of the top goalscorer having missed out on title glory – alongside Messi, Aubameyang, Cavani and Kane.


ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE


Alexandre Lacazette Lyon goals 16 17

Has scored 20+ league goals in three successive seasons at Lyon, while passing the 100-goal mark for the club while setting a new personal best in 2016-17.

Having been a talismanic presence for his Ligue 1 employers, the France international is now destined to take his predatory instincts elsewhere – with Manchester United and Liverpool among those reported to be keen.


LUIS SUAREZ


Luis Suarez Barcelona 16 17

Only Messi and Ronaldo have managed more goals in La Liga since the Uruguayan moved to Camp Nou in 2014, with 85 managed in just 97 appearances.

Is one of only eight players in Europe to have registered double figures in terms of assists and goals in the 2016-17 campaign.


HARRY KANE


Harry Kane Tottenham goals 16 17

The Tottenham talisman is only the fifth player to score 25+ goals in two successive Premier League seasons, following in the footsteps of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Robbie Fowler.

His 29-goal haul in 2016-17 saw him make it back-to-back Golden Boot successes in the English top-flight.


DRIES MERTENS


Dries Mertens Napoli goals 16 17

Recorded 30+ goals for the first time in his career, and 20+ in a league campaign for the first time since his spell at PSV in 2011-12.

Saw off competition from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Roma’s Radja Nainggolan to be named Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2016.


JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10


Sergio Aguero Manchester City

Sergio Aguero managed 33 in all competitions for Manchester City, despite seeing his future called into question at times – becoming only the fifth player to 20+ in three successive Premier League seasons after Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Harry Kane.

Gonzalo Higuain started to repay his €90 million transfer fee at Juventus with 32 goals, including five in a run to the Champions League final, while Alexis Sanchez hit 30 for the first time in his career to help Arsenal to FA Cup glory.

Radamel Falcao also hit that mark, with the Colombian enjoying a welcome return to form to spark a Ligue 1 title win at Monaco after two forgettable seasons on loan in England with Manchester United and Chelsea.


BEST OF THE REST


Kylian Mbappe AS Monaco Borussia Dortmund Champions League 19042017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28) saw his season cut short by injury, but not before becoming the first man to score 20+ goals for Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, while Andre Belotti (28) came of age at Torino, netting a European-high 10 efforts in the league with his head.

Blackburn Rovers fans are unlikely to have fond memories of Anthony Modeste, but he has been prolific for Koln and plundered 27 efforts across all competitions in 2016-17 – including 25 of his side’s 51 in the Bundesliga.

Six men ended the campaign with 26 goals to their name, including Celta Vigo’s former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas and Lazio frontman Ciro Immobile.

Mauro Icardi also achieved the feat in another frustrating season for Inter, while Everton’s Romelu Lukaku joined Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Robbie Fowler in an elite group of players to have netted 80+ times in the Premier League before the age of 24.

Elsewhere, Antoine Griezmann caught the eye of the likes of Manchester United with another impressive haul at Atletico Madrid and Kylian Mbappe became the teenage sensation of the season at Monaco, becoming only the sixth player to score in his first four Champions League starts and drawing comparisons with Thierry Henry as he helped Monaco to the Ligue 1 title.

‘Higuain was Juventus’ biggest Champions League final flop’ – Argentine striker slammed by Di Livio

The South American made little impact in the European showpiece, with the Serie A title winners suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid

Gonzalo Higuain was Juventus’ most disappointing player in their Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, according to Angelo Di Livio.

Madrid romped to a 4-1 victory in Cardiff on Saturday, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side falling apart in a second half that saw them fail to trouble opposing goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Di Livio won the Champions League with Juve in 1996, the Italian champions having lost five straight finals in their fruitless attempts to win the trophy since then.

Ventura backs Juve to respond

And he was unimpressed with the performance of Higuain, who assisted Mario Mandzukic’s spectacular first-half strike, but failed to score himself against his former club Madrid at the conclusion of his first season in Turin after signing from Napoli for €90million.

“Who disappointed me the most? Certainly Higuain,” Di Livio said to Il Mattino.

“I was expecting a lot from Pipita, or at least something more in terms of his technical quality and hunger for goals.

“He gave me a different impression to the others. No one at Juve tried to make a difference and assert their qualities, but Higuain is the one who made the biggest impression on me in a negative way.”

Di Livio feels Higuain’s display was typical of a Juve team lacking the mentality of their Madrid counterparts.

He continued: “To play at certain levels, you need top players and I think the Bianconeri still lack some players with personality, who can give the team a leap in quality.

Buffon: One more chance at CL glory

“Between the first and second half, there was a collapse. The mental aspect is important and Juve consumed all their energy in the first 45 minutes.

“Then they disappeared. They failed at the most important moment in the second half. The physical aspect, as well as the mental aspect, were a disaster for Juve.”

A player of a generation, a team of a generation: Ronaldo and Real are the history boys

This Real Madrid team is without equal in the modern era and Ronaldo has taken strides towards immortality after beating Juventus 4-1

A player of a generation; a team of a generation. That is the only way to describe Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid following the club’s 12th Champions League victory.

Ronaldo makes Champions League history

Into the bargain Zinedine Zidane has bettered every Real Madrid coach since 1958. Luis Carniglia equalled the feats of Jose Villalonga a year previous in winning a league and European Cup double. No Madrid coach since then could do it until now.

And it took 27 years for a team to match the feat of Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan side. This Real Madrid have no comparison in the modern era.

The path to the final these days is so fraught with danger and teams such hostages to fortune that it is hard for any side to fulfil their destiny as favourites.

There is such a pervading expectation of success around Madrid, however, and they have broken through that glass ceiling.

Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

This was supposed to be competitive. Juventus had conceded three goals in the competition to this point and had shut out Barcelona twice.

Tonight, Real Madrid pierced them four times through Ronaldo, Casemiro and Marco Asensio. This was a team going for a treble and they were made to look like they didn’t belong in the same company.

Ronaldo scores 600th career goal

Madrid’s sense of calm, their ease at coping with pressure, these things don’t come easily. They only come for a team so used to winning – and so sure of it – that every final can be treated as no big deal.

Before the game as the Juventus XI went through a detailed and rigorous pre-match warm-up, the Real Madrid contingent could be seen engaging in an easy-going rondos session and exchanging hugs and smiles. They have been here, seen it and done it. They don’t come to Champions League finals to compete, they come to fulfil a script.

Credit to Juventus. They flew out of the blocks and threatened to disrupt the rhythm of the team in purple but it couldn’t last. Not even one of the greatest Champions League final goals from Mario Mandzukic could knock them from their stride. Indeed, it was appropriate that it required magic to earn Juve some parity because their normal game was sure as hell not good enough to get close.

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus Real MadridCristiano Ronaldo Juventus Real Madrid

Real did what Real do. They maintained composure in possession and were utterly devastating when they had the ball in front of goal. Gianluigi Buffon barely had his shorts dirtied by the time Ronaldo swept the opening goal past him.

Black Eyed Peas show slammed by fans

Juventus came here believing and hoping but all it took was one swipe of the Portuguese genius’s boot to smash their expectations back into the earth.

That’s four Champions Leagues for Ronaldo for those keeping score at home. Three for Real and one more for Manchester United. He has scored in three finals including two goals here. He has scored 10 knockout goals this season; many strikers would be satisfied with that over the course of a career.

Comparisons will always be made with Lionel Messi but now it’s time to start thinking about Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas in the Real Madrid context. He is extra-terrestrial; we will never see his like again.

And, as good as Zidane was a player, he is now emerging the same way as a coach. These are the history boys; modern greats, the best of all time?