In light of Barcelona’s continued pursuit of both Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas (read more: here), I have decided to do a bit of digging into Barcelona’s transfer history, ranking the five most expensive signings, and how they turned out for the Blaugrana.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Signed 2009 – approx. €49,000,000 + Samuel Eto’o
Ibracadabra, the most expensive Barcelona transfer ever.
Ibrahimovic, the biggest Barcelona flop ever?
Perhaps, but whatever the case, he was not worth the trade of indomitable lion Samuel Eto’o, let alone sky-high fee on top of it. Sure, he scored 22 goals in total, including a winner in El Clasico, but he never endeared himself to the Blaugrana faithful. Most of the times, when things didn’t go his way (which was quite often), he could be seen sulking around, and on one occasion, the return leg of the tie against Inter Milan match, he actually covered less distance than Victor Valdes.
Not only that, but his presence in the team was affecting Lionel Messi, for the worse. Towards the end of the season, Ibracadabra was benched by Bojan. Not exactly the return FC Barcelona were hoping for.
Despite an adequate pre-season performances last season, he was loaned out to AC Milan, where he most notably kicked Antonio Cassano in the head, punched Marco Rossi in the chest, swore at a ref, kicked Rodney Strasser, and told AC Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi to “shut up” on national television.
Personally, I hate the guy, and I’m sure everyone cule will agree; he was a waste of money.
David Villa – Signed 2010 – approx. €40,000,000
After the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan, it became evident that Barcelona needed another striker. This time, there were no rumours, as there was only one man in contention. David Villa.
The Valencia striker was close to sign with FC Barcelona in 2009, only for FC Barcelona to pull out at the last minute, in favour of Ibrahimovic. in 2010 though his signing was secured very early, before the World Cup. The joint top-scorer at the aforementioned tournament, David Villa was to arrive with huge expectations on his head, but the reception was mixed. Some say he has been a success, but others have been left disappointed, pointing to his Valencia form as reason.
I have to say considering the circumstances, Villa has done well. His return was down on previous seasons (23 goals in 2010/11 compared to 28 in 2009/10) but with the post-World Cup fatigue, and having to adapt to the new system, Spain’s record goal scorer had a steady season. And how many strikers that have had a “steady season” can boast two Clasico goals, and a goal of the match in the Champions League Final?
Perhaps next season will be different. After all, he will be coming back off his first break in a long time and with a season of Barcelona experience under his belt, and the sky is indeed the limit for David Villa.
Dani Alves – Signed 2008 – approx. €41,250,000
Easily my favourite Barcelona signing on this list, perhaps of all-time, Dani Alves is vastly under-rated in my opinion. He bombs up and down that right flank for 90 minutes of every match, almost as if his life depended on it, links brilliantly with Lionel Messi, can supply world-class crosses, and even knows where the back of the net is.
He is the modern-day Cafu, and I would even go as far as saying he eclipses his compatriot in terms of all-round ability. However, it is merely a stroke of luck that the transfer occurred in the first place.
It was the summer of 2007, and the rumours were gaining momentum. “Alves to sign for Chelsea” proclaimed the back pages, and Alves even flew his agent to London to try and negotiate personal terms. It seemed like Chelsea were looking to buy their success yet again, until Sevilla stood firm. Del Nido rejected every bid, despite the plea from Alves, and Chelsea were left to sign Belletti instead.
When the time came for Dani Alves to part from Sevilla, he did it with great regret, and I remember seeing him break down in tears in his final press conference. I think it can be safely said that Alves will have no regrets, and it was possibly the best piece of business that Barcelona ever made.
Oh, and he’s got plenty of people sent off over the years as well.
Marc Overmars – Signed 2000 – approx. €40,000,000
A little out of place on this list, Overmars was one of many big money signings by Joan Gaspart, though was one of the few that delivered. Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona didn’t win any trophies during his spell with the club, but compared to such players as Christianval, Gerard, Geovanni and Sonny Anderson, he was a great signing. Signed from Arsenal, and probably tapped-up beforehand, Overmars was the most expensive Dutch player ever, quite a feat considering the nation’s football pedigree.
He spent four adequate years at Barcelona, but had to retire at just 31 on medical grounds. The Flying Dutchman was an OK signing, but like many other Gaspart additions, failed to live up to the price tag.
Ronaldinho – Signed 2003 – approx €30,000,000
I refuse to believe that a certain someone was signed for more than the mercurial Brazilian, so I will leave him as a “bonus”.
Back to Ronaldinho, there was once again a stroke of luck about this signing, as the newly-elected Joan Laporta had risen to power promising the signature of David Beckham. Thankfully, Florentino Perez reached into his pockets, and snatched Becks aka Posh Boy from us. Now, I like Beckham, but everyone knows who is/was better: Ronaldinho.
So, a year after he knocked out Beckham’s England side in the 2002 World Cup, with “that goal”, he was paraded around the Camp Nou. Don’t think anyone could have predicted just how good Ronaldinho would be.
Blighted by injury in the first half of his first season at the club, he still returned to lead Barca to second place. After that? Well, the rest is history!
Individually, he won the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, but with the Blaugrana, he won numerous league titles, and the 2006 Champions League, in that epic night in Paris. Sure, he led Barcelona to success, but he also played with a smile on his face, and inspired a generation with his range of skills. Unlike Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo with his pointless step-overs, Ronaldinho’s skills had a purpose, just watch the goal he scored against Chelsea.
A joy to watch, I am proud to say that he, along with Deco and Xavi, was the reason I started to follow Barcelona, rather than the typical glory-hunter label I get tagged with.
Ronaldinho, when you take the fee into consideration, and of course ability, was easily the best signing Barcelona have made. Though his later years at the club were down-right upsetting. All cules could remember how good he was, but what we were seeing was a shadow of the player that thrilled us all so many times before. Luckily some Argentine guy would take up the mantle soon after...
Javier Saviola – Signed 2001 – anywhere between €15,000,000 and €35,000,000
What to say about Javier Saviola? He was signed with a huge price-tag on his shoulders that varied from report to report, was supposedly the next Maradona, and unfortunately, was named as the youngest player in Pele’s FIFA 100 list of 125 greatest living footballers.
If only Pele were right.
Saviola started brightly, with 17 goals in his debut season, but from there, it was all downhill. The amount of goals decreased, as did his workrate, and Frank Rijkaard deemed him surlus to requirements. Something tells me Maradona’s reincarnate would have fared better...
El Conejo was loaned out to Monaco, where he nearly won the Champions League, before a spell at Sevilla where he flattered to deceive. Unbelievably, he was given a chance in 2006/07 season, but the emergence of some kid called Lionel Messi meant his time was definitely up.
At the end of his Barcelona contract, he somehow manufactured a move to Real Madrid, in a situation that is very much similar to that of Adebayor, who has ultimately failed at every club he has played for, yet gets increasingly better transfers for it. Now playing for Benfica, he has been linked with QPR. Just like Maradona would have been if he was playing today...
So, if you say that Fabregas would cost €40-45,000,000, he would easily slot near the top, and so would Alexis Sanchez. So while the prices have changed over the years, perhaps Udinese and Arsenal fans should consider this:
Is their player really worth considerably more than Ronaldinho?
I thoroughly believe (hope) that is what Rosell has on his mind, rather than just “low-balling” for the sake of it.
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