Neymar is the most expensive player at the 2018 World Cup. The Brazilian forward already holds the record for the most expensive single transfer – the €222m ($262m) Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona last summer – and clubs have paid a combined €310m (U$366m) to sign him over his career so far.
He is one of two Brazilians and six South Americans on the list, which ranks players by cumulative transfer fees. There would have been one more if Chelsea defender David Luiz (€125m / $148m total transfer fees) had made the Brazil squad. Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place, and could rise even higher if a rumoured move away from Real Madrid materializes. Lionel Messi, of course, does not feature, given he has played for Barcelona since he was 13. Barcelona and PSG have the most players from the list on their books – three each.
Though all are international soccer household names, there may be a few eyebrows raised to find clubs have paid considerably more than Angel Di Maria over his career than, for example, Luis Suarez. Larger-than-life LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have been third on the list with €169m ($200m) but has retired from international duty with Sweden.
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1. Neymar (Brazil) – €310m ($366m)
The talismanic Brazil forward needs no introduction. Despite smashing the world record transfer fee when he moved to PSG from Barcelona last summer, rumours persist Real Madrid could be preparing an even larger bid for one of the world’s best players.
2. Kylian Mbappe (France) – €180m ($213m)
The youngest player on the list, 19-year-old Mbappe has only moved once. But the €180 million ($213m) PSG paid Monaco for the services of the electric star rockets him to second place.
3. Angel Di Maria (Argentina) – €179m ($211m)
Another PSG player completes the top three. Winger Di Maria has earned his previous clubs, Benfica, Real Madrid and Manchester United, hefty transfer fees. In August 2014 he moved from Real to United for €75 million ($89m) but left the next summer for €63 ($74m) million.
4. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina) – €141m ($167m)
The €90 million ($106m) Juventus paid Napoli for the lethal striker in 2016 puts him fourth on the list. He had joined Napoli from Real Madrid for €39 million ($46m).
5. James Rodriguez (Colombia) – €140m ($165m)
James seems to have been around forever but is still only 26. The creative midfielder has had big money transfers from Porto and Monaco but faces an uncertain future at parent club Real Madrid after spending last season on loan at Bayern Munich.
6. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – €138m ($163m)
The only current English Premier League player on the list is Manchester United striker Lukaku. He moved to his third EPL club last summer when United paid Everton nearly €85 million ($100m) for his services.
7. Philippe Coutinho (Brazil) – €136m ($161m)
Barcelona’s attacking schemer is the second Brazilian on the list. He joined the Spanish giants from Liverpool for an initial €120 million ($142m).
8. Ousmane Dembele (France) – €130m ($154m)
The 21-year-old French forward is already being linked with moves away from Barcelona after an underwhelming debut season. He arrived at the Nou Camp for an initial €105 million ($124m) from Borussia Dortmund, at the time the joint-second most expensive player in the world.
9. Luis Suarez (Uruguay) – €116m ($137m)
Known for controversial World Cup moments almost as much as his goalscoring, Suarez was another sold by Liverpool to Barcelona for a big-money fee – the fourth transfer of his career. Suarez has the same total transfer fees as Spain striker Alvaro Morata, but the Chelsea man was not selected in his country’s squad.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – €113m ($133m)
One of the world’s best players, Ronaldo is only happy if he’s on top. He squeezes into this list, an indication of how transfer fees have soared since his €94 million move from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009. Talk the Portuguese star wants to leave Real continues, and, even at 33, he may have one hefty transfer left.