The Most Expensive Football Transfers in 2019
Even in countries where it's not a national sport, association football is among the most followed sports.
It is one of the most-enjoyed sports in Ireland and Scotland, it's insanely popular in Germany, and Italy, and it's played professionally all over the world. There is only one country in the world without a national team: the Marshall Islands, but even it has around 20 football teams. With such a wide reach and massive following, it is expected for football to also be the most lucrative sport in the world. The average fan might not even imagine how much money is behind the global football business. One of the things that best reflect how lucrative association football is would be the player transfers. Here are the most expensive ones that have happened this year.
5: Hernandez, Pépé, Lukaku
This year, we've seen three association football player transfers that have hit the €80 million mark: Lucas Hernandez left Atlético Madrid for Bayern Munich, Nicolas Pépé ended his contract with Lille to continue playing with Arsenal, and Romelu Lukaku left England's Manchester United to continue his career at Inter Milan. A few years ago, €80 million would've been considered a world record (Cristiano Ronaldo's €94 million transfer to Real Madrid certainly was). This year, this amount is, in turn, "one of many" - certainly a small fortune but far from a record-breaking amount.
Harry Maguire left Leicester City this year to continue playing at Manchester United in a transfer worth €87 million, the fourth most expensive this year. The 26-year-old centre-back won three Player of the Year awards with Sheffield, and has proven his worth with Hull and Leicester, too - ultimately, Manchester United managed to lure him over with the highest transfer fee ever paid for a defender.
3. Eden Hazard
A prolific goalscorer and captain of the Belgium national team, Eden Hazard has numerous awards to his name, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup's top assist provider. He spent his last seven years playing with Premier League club Chelsea - now that the time has come for him to leave meant a big price to be paid by Real Madrid: €100 million (plus additional fees).
Griezmann made a name for himself playing with Real Sociedad, then leaving to continue playing with Atlético Madrid for a club-record fee of €30 million. At last year's World Cup he won the Bronze Ball and the Silver Boot. And at the end of the season, he left Atlético to continue at the rival Barca that reportedly paid his €120 million buy-out clause, making him the second most expensive player in 2019.
1. João Félix
A versatile player who stood his ground as a forward, a winger, and an attacking midfielder, João Félix became the most expensive player of this year. After graduating from Benfica's youth academy, he joined the senior B team in 2016 and was promoted to the first team two years later. He spent just one season with the team, though - this summer, Atlético Madrid signed him in a new club-record transfer worth €126 million. This made him not only the most expensive player in 2019 but also the second most expensive teenager, and the third most expensive footballer in history (after Neymar, and Mbappé).