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Ronaldo, Neymar and the top 10 combined transfer fees of all time

Cristiano Ronaldo may not have set another world record transfer fee with his move from Real Madrid to Juventus, but the Portuguese sensation has shown his value has only increased with age.

The 33-year-old’s move to the Serie A side for a total of €100 million with €12m in add-ons tops the then-record €94m fee Madrid paid to sign him from Manchester United nine years ago.

The €100m barrier has been broken several times since he moved to the Spanish capital as the likes of Gareth Bale, Paul Pogba, Neymar, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho went on to smash through it.

But Ronaldo’s latest switch puts him back near the top when it comes to cumulative transfer fees, with only Neymar’s €222m switch to PSG keeping him off the all-time No.1 spot.

Rank Player Clubs Total
1 Neymar Santos, Barcelona, PSG €308.2m
2 Cristiano Ronaldo Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus €221m
3 Kylian Mbappe Monaco, PSG €180m
4 Philippe Coutinho Vasco da Gama, Inter, Liverpool, Barcelona €174m
5 Angel Di Maria Rosario Central, Benfica, Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG €169.2m
6 Ousmane Dembele Rennes, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona €160m
7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG, Manchester United €159.5m
8 Romelu Lukaku Anderlecht, Chelsea, West Brom, Everton, Manchester United €140.2m
9 James Rodriguez Envigado, Banfield, Porto, Monaco, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich €140.1m
10 Gonzalo Higuain River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus €140m

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

Given the rate at which transfer fees seem to be rising, Ronaldo might not be able to hold on to his place for too long. The Mbappe’s mega-move to PSG puts him just €41m behind the Portugal icon, but the young France star has already been highlighted as a potential successor at Madrid.

After making his dream move to Barcelona for a fee that could rise to €160m, Philippe Coutinho is not far behind Mbappe, and he is joined in the top 10 by Camp Nou team-mate Dembele, for whom Barca splashed out an initial €105m which could rise to €145m. 

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, sat top of the list last year, but the recent splurges across Europe have knocked him down a few spots.

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Given his age (36) and, perhaps more importantly, his agent (Mino Raiola), it is hardly surprising that Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in the table, thanks in no small part to his whopping – but unsuccessful – €69.5m transfer from Inter to Barcelona in 2009. 

Elsewhere, Gonzalo Higuain’s €90m switch from Napoli to Juventus in 2016 is primarily responsible for the forward’s place in the top 10. If he leaves Juventus following Ronaldo’s arrival as many in Italy are predicting, it could propel him higher up the top 10.

In 2017, Nicolas Anelka, Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo – three men who enjoyed peripatetic careers – were still high up, but there is a completely fresh and modern look to the list now.


A trio with Dybala and Higuain? How Juventus could line up with Cristiano Ronaldo

If you can’t beat him, sign him!

With Cristiano Ronaldo edging ever closer to leaving Real Madrid for Juventus , Old Lady supporters are understandably giddy with excitement about the prospect of their nemesis joining them in Turin.

After all, their beloved Bianconeri have suffered more than most at the hands of the prolific Portuguese, who struck twice against the Italians in the 2017 Champions League final, as well as netting three times when the two sides met across two legs in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition.

Of course, it was the most spectacular of those goals – a sensational overhead kick in Turin in April – which prompted the standing ovation that has so greatly influenced Ronaldo’s decision to join Juve . 

It also served to underline that the 33-year-old remains one of the most formidable forces the game has ever seen, but will a change of team also provoke a change of position?

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Allegri had many attacking options at his disposal as it was. With Ronaldo on board, the possibilities are almost endless…


Ronaldo Juventus 4-3-1-2 PS

The most exciting prospect, but also the least likely. Gonzalo Higuain’s agent, his brother Nicolas, has already stated that the striker is excited by the prospect of being reunited with Ronaldo.

“It would be fantastic if he made a strike partnership with Gonzalo,” he told Sky Sport Italia . “They know each other so well, as they played about 80 games together.

“If Juve can do it, this will be fantastic, just spectacular.” No arguments there; when you throw Paulo Dybala into the mix – either on the right flank or as a trequartista – it begins to feel like fantasy football.

However, the reality is that Juve will have to balance the books in order to cover the cost of the Ronaldo operation, which will amount to approximately €340 million/£300.3m/$400.6m (€100m/£88.3m/$117.8m transfer fee and €60m/£53m/$70.7m a season in wages) over the next four years. 

Higuain is one of Juve’s most valuable assets, their highest earner (€7.5m/£6.6m/$8.8m per annum) and, therefore, the man most likely to make way, particularly as he is 30 – six years older than Dybala.

Still, just how intimidating would the Bianconeri’s forward line look with all three in their preferred positions?!

Ronaldo Juventus 4-3-3 PS


Ronaldo Juventus Lone Striker PS

However, Ronaldo’s arrival is expected to result in Higuain’s departure, thus leaving a void up front. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner could easily fill it.

Granted, the 33-year-old remains in peak physical condition, but moving Ronaldo into the middle would make sense as it would absolve him of any real defensive responsibilities, thus lightening his load and allowing him to concentrate on what he does best: scoring goals.

Of course, Ronaldo has enjoyed great success playing off a more conventional centre-forward but if he does take centre stage in Turin, in every sense, Juve could offer him the most wonderful supporting cast, one with a varied skill set.

Allegri could deploy Ronaldo at the tip of a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the industrious Mario Mandzukic, the Messi-like Dybala and the jet-heeled Douglas Costa in behind.

With that trio offering physicality, creativity and blistering pace in equal measures, it’s difficult to see how Ronaldo could fail to score freely in Serie A.


Ronaldo Juventus 4-3-3 Costa PS

Of course, Allegri might feel that a 4-2-3-1 might leave Juve exposed against stronger sides, particularly in the Champions League. Certainly, a lot of pressure would be placed on the midfield two. 

As a result, a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 would represent a less offensive but arguably more balanced approach, with playmaker Miralem Pjanic flanked by the dynamic Blaise Matuidi – who has underlined his enduring quality at the World Cup – and new signing Emre Can. 

Sami Khedira could also come into the equation but his performances for Germany in Russia only strengthened the belief that he no longer has the legs to excel at the very highest level.

Up front, meanwhile, Ronaldo would have Dybala and Costa providing him with ammunition. Admittedly, Dybala likes to drift towards the right so that he can cut in on to his preferred left foot but it would be difficult to omit Costa, given the way in which he finished last season.

Again, though, Allegri is not without options.

Should he so choose to limit Costa to the role of impact sub – one at which he is most adept – the versatile Mandzukic could be brought into the forward line on the left flank, throwing up the possibility of him interchanging with Ronaldo whenever they see fit.

Ronaldo Juventus 4-3-3 Mandzu PS


Ronaldo Juventus 3-5-2 PS

Every football fan has wondered what it would be like if Ronaldo and Messi were to play in the same team. Could it work? Maybe we could find out in theory through Juventus.

Obviously, Dybala is not Messi – and he never will be – but as even the Barcelona No.10 has admitted himself, the pair do like to play the same way. They have similar attributes and styles, which is why Argentina boss Jorge Sampaoli stubbornly refused to play them together at the World Cup.

Ronaldo and Messi, though, are very different players, so there is no reason why Dybala could not be paired with the Portuguese. Certainly, on paper, it should work well: a creator and a finisher in tandem.

Of course, Dybala is a fine goalscorer in his own right – he hit a career-high 22 in Serie A last season – but he has also proven an excellent foil for Higuain. 

Furthermore, on several occasions last season, Ronaldo was used up front in a 4-4-2, most notably when Real coach Zinedine Zidane brought Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio into his starting lineup for the Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain to excellent effect. 

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Juve have their own excellent wingers in Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa but they are now also in possession of two fine attacking wing-backs, with Joao Cancelo having joined Alex Sandro in Turin, meaning the Bianconeri’s tried-and-trusted 3-5-2 formation is a very attractive option. 

Not only would it afford Juve greater solidity in midfield, it would also allow them to play recent arrival Mattia Caldara alongside experienced duo Giorgio Chiellini and Medhi Benatia in a stronger back three.

The bottom line is: Allegri will not be short on options. Whatever he decides, there are likely to be a few more standing ovations for Ronaldo in Turin next season.


Ronaldo and Higuain could be ‘fantastic’ together at Juventus, says agent

Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential arrival at Juventus would be welcomed by Gonzalo Higuain, according to the striker’s agent.

Reports emerged on Tuesday that Juventus had lodged a bid to Real Madrid for Ronaldo , who is heading into his 10th season with Los Blancos.

Ronaldo and Higuain played together at Madrid between 2009 and 2013, before the Argentinian moved onto Napoli, where his scintillating form earned him a switch to Turin.

And although Ronaldo’s hypothetical arrival at the Serie A champions could threaten Higuain’s place up front, his sibling Nicolas is positive there would be no issues.

“We don’t know anything yet. He was team-mates with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, but they haven’t spoken about it,” Nicolas Higuain told Sky Sport Italia .

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“It would be fantastic obviously, especially if he made a strike partnership with Gonzalo.

“They know each other so well, as they played about 80 games together. If Juve can do it, this will be fantastic, just spectacular. It’s hardly new for them to work together.”

Regardless of Ronaldo’s situation, uncertainty remains over Higuain’s future at the club , with rumours swirling that ex-Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri will look to bring the player to Chelsea should he take over at Stamford Bridge .

However, Nicolas refuted suggestions that Gonzalo was looking for a way out of Juve.

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“At the moment we haven’t spoken to any other clubs, as we have a three-year contract with Juventus,” he added.

“He is very happy in the city, at the club, with the coach [Massimiliano Allegri] and the tactical system.

“Everyone knows his rapport with Sarri is wonderful and he sees him as a football father, but as far as I know, Sarri hasn’t even signed for Chelsea yet. Secondly, Gonzalo is happy in Turin so I see no real chance of leaving.”


Higuain: Rojo winner brought ‘joy and a big relief’ for Argentina

Marcos Rojo’s late World Cup heroics in St Petersburg against Nigeria prompted huge joy and relief for Gonzalo Higuain and his Argentina team-mates.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men were staring at elimination four minutes from time at Krestovsky Stadium when Manchester United defender Rojo emerged in a penalty area stacked with attacking talent to steer home a superb right-footed volley.

Captain Lionel Messi gave Argentina a 14th-minute lead, stylishly breaking his duck at Russia 2018 on the end of Ever Banega’s exquisite pass, but Victor Moses equalised from the penalty spot early in the second half to set up the frantic finale.

The extensive fallout from last week’s humbling 3-0 loss to Croatia included reports of dressing room in-fighting and a plot to overthrow Sampaoli.

In that context, Higuain, who failed to put a glorious chance of his own on target, felt the taste of victory was particularly sweet.

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“When Marcos scored it was a huge joy and a big relief because I believe we deserved, in every moment, to qualify to the last 16,” he said.

“The dressing room was very happy. After all, we fought, we ran and all we played against a very physical team like Nigeria. We are proud of the game we played.

“Now we know we’ll start the knockout stages and we’ll try to do it the best way possible. It wasn’t a heavy burden, it’s a huge joy. This team deserved this after all that was said.”

Rojo might have ended up being the villain before his decisive strike, when he headed a clearance against his own arm but survived a VAR review for Nigeria’s penalty claim .

“I didn’t think it was penalty,” Higuain said. “Marcos hits it with the head and then it touches his hand.”

Pipping Nigeria to second place in Group D means a last-16 clash against France – the country of Higuain’s berth – is up next.

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“They will be a very tough rival and we must stay focused,” he added. “I think if we play like today we have a chance to get through.

“I never faced France, it will be the first time, and at a decisive stage in a knockout stage. We hope we can do things right.”


Argentina team news: Aguero dropped for Higuain as Messi seeks World Cup salvation

Argentina have rung the changes with their World Cup place on the line as Gonzalo Higuain replaces Sergio Aguero in attack to face Nigeria in St Petersburg.

Lionel Messi and his team-mates must beat the Super Eagles at Krestovsky Stadium to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages after they followed an opening 1-1 draw against Iceland with a shambolic 3-0 loss to Croatia.

As expected, under-fire boss Jorge Sampaoli has made five changes to the starting XI dispatched by Croatia, with Aguero missing out despite scoring his country’s only goal at Russia 2018 so far.

Angel Di Maria is restored to complete a three-man attack alongside Messi and Higuain in a 4-3-3 formation – Sampaoli’s third different tactical setup in as many matches.

Franco Armani makes his international debut in goal, with Willy Caballero paying for the error that saw Ante Rebic open the scoring for Croatia last week.

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Nigeria were in far more impressive form as they overcame Iceland 2-0 and currently lie second in Group D, two points better off than Sampaoli’s men.

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Gernot Rohr has named an unchanged XI, with John Obi Mikel to play in a cast to protect his broken hand.

Argentina team: Armani, Mercado, Rojo, Otamendi, Tagliafico, Mascherano, Banega, Perez, Di Maria, Messi, Higuain.

Nigeria team: Uzoho, Idowu, Ndidi, Ekong, Balogun, Musa, Etebo, Mikel, Moses, Iheanacho, Omeruo