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The five most expensive players ever in cumulative transfer fees

Football transfers appear to be on a never-ending upward trajectory, but who are the most expensive footballers of all time when it comes to cumulative transfer fees?

Several stars have made multiple mega-money moves during their careers and we’ve ranked the five most expensive players ever, when all fees are combined.

The five most expensive players ever in cumulative transfer fees:

5. Alvaro Morata – €189m

Alvaro Morata has bounced around a number of Europe’s top clubs during his career, without truly settling in any location.

The Spanish striker came through the academy ranks at Real Madrid and has since made six big-money moves, representing Juventus (twice), Chelsea and Atletico Madrid.

Morata first signed for Juventus for a fee of €20m in 2014, but returned to Real Madrid two seasons later after Los Blancos activated a €30m buy-back clause.

The forward became Chelsea’s record signing in a deal worth around €65m in 2017, but failed to make the desired impact in west London and scored just 16 times in 47 league appearances.

Further moves – including a two-year loan back to Juventus that cost the club €21m – have seen Morata’s total transfer fees swell to around €189m. He is the fifth most expensive footballer of all time in terms of combined fees, despite having never bettered 15 goals in a league season.

4. Ousmane Dembele – €220m

Ousmane Dembele has climbed to fourth on this list after his summer switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

Dembele became one of the most expensive players of all time when joining Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund, with the Catalans spending €145m including add-ons to sign the talented winger.

It was a deal that shocked Europe, with Dembele having spent just one season in Dortmund after signing for the club from Rennes.

Dembele’s time at Barcelona was impacted by fitness problems however, before PSG made a move to bring the Frenchman back to Ligue 1 in 2023.

PSG agreed a €50m deal to sign the 26-year-old as the club rebuilt following the exits of Neymar and Lionel Messi.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – €247m

Cristiano Ronaldo ranks third on this list with clubs having spent a combined €247m to sign the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Ronaldo moved to Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon as a teenager, where in six seasons he developed into arguably world football’s finest talent.

Real Madrid broke the world transfer record (€94m) to sign Ronaldo in 2009 and he repaid that investment by becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer, boasting a record of 450 goals in just 438 appearances for the Spanish side.

Juventus splashed out to sign Ronaldo (€112m) after nine seasons at the Bernabeu, a deal which made the Portugal international the most expensive footballer ever aged 30 or above.

Ronaldo scored 101 goals across three seasons at Juventus, before a short return to Manchester United. The 38-year-old is currently one of the faces of the Saudi Pro League project, having joined Al Nassr in January 2023.

2. Romelu Lukaku – €343m

Romelu Lukaku was replaced as the most expensive player in history in terms of combined transfer fees this summer, having held the position since his club-record move to Chelsea in 2021.

Lukaku has been involved in six permanent transfers during his career to date, becoming a then record signing at Everton (€32m – 2014), Inter Milan (€80m – 2019) and Chelsea (€115m – 2021).

He also signed for Manchester United in a deal worth €88 million and has totalled €343m in transfer fees during his career. A record of 211 goals in 448 career league appearances suggests value, though Lukaku has struggled to settle at a number of clubs.

He is currently on loan at Roma, having disappointed since his record-breaking return to Chelsea.

1. Neymar – €408m

Neymar regained top spot on this list this summer after completing a €90m move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.

The Brazil international holds the record for the highest single transfer fee (€222m) when joining Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona and is the most expensive player ever in terms of combined fees.

The 31-year-old’s €408m combined transfer fees have come from just three transfers, the first of which saw Neymar sign for Barcelona from Santos for around €86.2m.


A record of 105 goals in 186 games saw Neymar star alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in Catalonia, before PSG smashed the world transfer record to sign the forward in 2017.

Despite five league titles and over a century of goals for the club, he departed PSG with a sense of objective unfulfilled after failing to lead the Ligue 1 side to Champions League success.

Now Brazil’s all-time record goalscorer with 79 goals for the national team, he will spend the coming seasons in Saudi Arabia after joining Al-Hilal.

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