Imagine getting Lionel Messi, Pele, or Paul Pogba for free! Well, it has happened as Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time went from Barcelona to PSG on a free and Pele, the best player of his generation, came to the New York Cosmos for free and brought soccer to the masses in the United States.
Since the Bosman ruling the landscape of free agency in soccer changed forever, before that professional clubs in some parts of Europe could stop a player from joining a club in another country even if their contracts had expired.
With free agency available here are the five most valuable free agents in the market at the time these players moved from one club to another. All values are according to Transfermarkt.
Five highest valued free agents according to Transfermarkt
Memphis Depay went from Lyon in France to Barcelona on a free transfer in 2021, the Netherlands international has played 28 games for Barcelona scoring 12 goals. Depay had a market value of 45 million euros at the time of his move to the Catalan giants.
Robert Lewandowski was one of the biggest steals in the history of the Bundesliga, moving from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich in 2014. The Polish goal machine had a market value of 50 million euros at the time of his transfer.
Austrian defender David Alaba also made a free transfer move last season going from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid. Alaba played 30 games this season and was a part of the UEFA Champions League victory squad for the Spanish giants. Alaba’s market value at the time of his move was 55 million euros.
Coming in number two was former AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, the netminder left Milan to PSG on a free transfer and had a market value of 60 million euros.
Number one is who else? Lionel Messi, the Argentine left Barcelona after the club fell into financial ruin. Messi the greatest player of his generation and maybe all time had a market value of 80 million euros.