It’s no secret that Neymar’s extremely lucrative $258.7 million transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain set records, becoming the most expensive transfer of all time, and by a wide margin: not only is the Brazilian’s transfer the new world record, but it more than doubled the previous high (Paul Pogba’s $123.5 million move to Manchester United last summer).
Such a gigantic fee could very well change the scope of transfer fees, and may lead to more lucrative deals for other world class players in the future. It also got us looking at the past, and at the high-priced world of Latino transfers. From Hernán Crespo’s high-profile move to Lazio at the turn of the millennium, to Kaká’s less-than-stellar move to Real Madrid, and all the way to Neymar’s PSG journey, latinos are all over the top transfers of all time list.
We took a look at the 10 most expensive Latino transfers of all time, and what became of each of the players after their expensive transfers.
10. David Luiz - $58.2 Million
Starting off our list at number 10 is one of 4 Brazilians: David Luiz. The shaggy-haired defender made the move from Chelsea to PSG for a fee of $58.2 million back in 2014. The deal made him, at the time, the most expensive defender ever.
Prior to the move, Luiz found glory in Chelsea, winning the Champions League, the FA Cup, and the Europa League. Although he signed a five-year deal to move to Parc des Princes, he only ended up being there for two. Both years proved to be fruitful, however, as PSG won consecutive domestic trebles of the Ligue 1 championship, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de Ligue.
Following the 2015-16 season, Luiz made his return to Chelsea, where he still roams today. When assessing a lucrative deal, titles are and important part to consider, and Luiz did not disappoint in that department during his spell in Paris.
9. Hernán Crespo - $65.9 Million
Coming in at number 9, we have the oldest transfer on the list, Hernán Crespo’s transfer from Parma to Lazio in 2000 for $65.9 million.
Crespo did not disappoint for the Roman side, as he finished as Serie A’s top scorer with 26 goals in his first season at Lazio. Despite his personal success, the striker had a hard time bringing championships to Lazio and was unable to lead them to the ever-elusive Scudetto during his time at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Argentine striker ended up bouncing around after his time at Lazio, eventually retiring back at Parma in 2012.
T-8. Radamel Falcao - $70.6 Million
Number 8 gives us the first (but not last) Colombian on our list: Radamel Falcao. Falcao’s $70.6 million transfer from Atlético Madrid to Monaco in 2013 was, at the time, the richest deal in Ligue 1 history.
Of course, that’s no longer the case thanks to Neymar nearly quadrupling that total, but in 2013, this transfer was a big deal. Falcao had previously enjoyed great success in Europe with both Atlético and Porto, winning the Europa League with each team in consecutive years.
The Colombian struggled to repeat that success in France as he tore his ACL in early 2014 and never really caught his footing, although he was more productive last year, as Monaco made it to the Champions League semi-finals. Also this year, El Tigre became Colombia’s all time leading international goal scorer.
T-8. Oscar - $70.6 Million
At the sixth spot on our list is Oscar, the only player on our list currently playing in Asia. Oscar took advantage of the Chinese soccer gold rush, moving from Chelsea to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG in 2017 for a whopping $70.6 million fee.
At the time, the Chinese Super League was trying to gain notoriety and saw Oscar as a great player to bridge the gap for them. The Brazilian’s time in China has been quite interesting. He’s had show stopping highlights, heartbreaking losses, and even a bench-clearing brawl to boot.
One thing is for certain, the midfielder has brought more than his fair share of entertainment to the league. For this, the money may be worth it, as Oscar is a name player recognizable by Western fans. Joining other high-profile Latino signings venturing to China (such as Carlos Tevez and Paulinho), Oscar may not be worth that massive sum, but he hasn’t disappointed to tragic degrees.
6. Kaká - $76.4 Million
Kaká joins our list at number 6 as a result of his transfer from AC Milan to Real Madrid in 2009. Kaká was a bonafide star when he joined Los Blancos. He enjoyed great success with Milan, even winning a Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player Of The Year award in 2007.
In addition, the Brazilian led Milan to a Champions League title in the same year, avenging the Miracle of Instabul defeat to Liverpool two years prior. Upon his arrival at Real, Kaká was hit with the injury bug, and never really lived up to his massive fee. He struggled to ever get over the hump that was Barcelona and ended up leaving back to Milan after just one La Liga trophy in 4 years.
Kaká currently plies his late-career craft as one of the bigger names in MLS, suiting up for relative newcomer Orlando City.
T-5. Ángel Di María - $88.2 Million
Nabbing a share of the fifth spot on our list is Ángel Di María. Di María’s 2014 transfer from Real Madrid to Manchester United was at the time the largest transfer fee ever paid by a British club. The Argentina national came in with lofty expectations after he inherited the storied number 7 shirt at United, which had previously been worn by club legends such as Bryan Robson, George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Unfortunately, the winger was unable to deliver in his lone season with the club. After a hot start–where he won Manchester United’s Player of the Month and Goal of the Month in September–Di María fizzled off and failed to deliver for the Reds.
Curiously, the Argentine joins Neymar as the other player that could have made this list twice. Di María’s$75.4 million transfer from Man U to PSG the following season would have also made the list. Di María has since enjoyed a rebirth in France, as he ended the 2015-16 season with a Ligue 1 record 18 assists.
T-5. James Rodríguez - $88.2 Million
At number four on our list, we’ve got James Rodríguez and his 2014 transfer from Monaco to Real Madrid. Like a handful of the transfers on our list, James could have been said to not live up to his massive fee.
Coming off of a world-class breakout performance with Colombia during the 2014 World Cup, expectations were through the roof for the youngster when he joined Real. To say that his stay in Spain was a disappointment is fair, however, as he never became the heir apparent to Cristiano that some wanted him to be.
Injuries plagued James throughout his time at the Spanish capital, and constant manager shakeups–a Real tradition like no other–never allowed the Colombian to make his mark on the team. He tumbled down the depth chart, and ended up getting loaned out to Bayern Munich this summer. With a new lease on his football career, James looks to return to world prominence and prove he is worth being this high on this list.
3. Luis Suárez - $96.1 Million
Sliding in the third slot on our list is Luis Suárez, courtesy of his 2014 transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona. Amidst some controversy after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, Suárez signed a five-year deal to move teams, while still needing to serve a four-month soccer ban as a result of the bite.
The anticipation was sky high as the Uruguayan national joined Barca’s already immensely talented group of forwards–creating the historic trio of MSN with Messi and Neymar–and he did not disappoint. In Suárez’s first year, he helped the club achieve a second continental treble–the first club to ever win La Liga, the Champions League, and the Copa Del Rey in the same year twice.
The MSN attacking trident scored a total of 122 goals in their first season together, the most for a trio in Spanish football history. In his second season at Camp Nou, Suárez won his first Pichichi Trophy, in addition to his second European Golden Shoe, becoming the first player not named Messi or Ronaldo to win both awards since 2009.
He ended his second season with a total of 40 league goals, scoring 14 in his last five matches, and racking up 16 assists, becoming the first player in history to lead La Liga in both goals and assists. Things will look a little different for Suárez moving forward without Neymar at his side, but there’s no doubt he will continue to light up the scoreboard as he has done in every stop along his storied career.
2. Gonzalo Higuaín - $105.8 Million
At number 2 on our list is Gonzalo Higuaín, whose$105.8 million transfer transfer from Napoli to their rival Juventus in 2016 was, at the time, the largest in Italian football history (only to be topped by Pogba later that summer).
Higuaín’s lone season thus far in Juventus was a fruitful one, albeit one with a disappointing ending. The Argentina poacher helped the Old Lady win their 6th straight Scudetto and their 12th Coppa Italia title, which made Juve the first team to win three consecutive domestic cup titles. Unfortunately for Higuaín and co., the season ended with a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
On a personal level, Higuaín became the first player to score more than 20 goals in his debut season for Juventus since John Charles and Omar Sívkri completed the feat during the 1957-58 Serie A season.
1. Neymar - $258.7 Million
Of course, over the last few weeks, we have all become familiar with Neymar’s controversial move from Barcelona to PSG, which is technically not a transfer but we’ll count it anyway; Neymar bought out his contract before signing onto PSG as a free agent, but for all intents and purpose, it was a record-breaking transfer.
From the time that word first leaked of a possible move to Paris, rumors spread rampant about both the possibility of the deal and the ludicrous amount of money it would take to get it done. Between all the reports that Neymar was gone, then all the contradicting reports that he would stay, Gerard Pique’s now infamous “Se queda” post and the training scuffle between Neymar and Nelson Semedo, this was drama made for TV.
After a few pump fakes, however, it finally was completed, and now Neymar faces the challenge of bringing titles to Parc des Princes.
It’s unclear how this transfer will ultimately play out, but everyone will have their eyes glued to the Brazilian in the upcoming season, awaiting his coming out party now that he’s no longer cast in the shadow of Messi.
Like Di María, Neymar actually could’ve made this list twice as well: the price of his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona has been debated and fought over in court, but TransferMarkt lists its final price as $103.8 million, which would slot him in just above his former teammate Suárez.