Under the intense scrutiny of the 21st century football media circus, player transfers often become incredibly tedious and drawn out sagas that make a marathon of the Twilight series look like an afternoon well spent. Gone are the days of Sunday papers breaking the news that your favourite player has gone off in search of pastures newer, warmer and more lucrative.
Even casual football fans would need to have their heads 6 feet into the sand not to have heard about some of these transfers at least 18 months in advance. But when the money changing hands is more than some countries make in a year, reading the small print a few times might seem sensible.
Whichever way you slice it the players are laughing, the agents are laughing and some lucky fans get to see some shiny new talent pull on their club’s jersey.
To illustrate this madness we’ve cut through the chaff and compiled the most expensive transfer fees ever seen. From Maradonna to Zindane, Figo to Torres, and of course Ronaldo and Bale.
They’re all here, they all broke the bank and we’re giving it you for free! For that money you could sign yourself a Yossi Benayoun, a William Gallas, or even a Carlton Cole!
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See the full-size version: Football Transfers Infographic.