The soccer world was completely shaken when Barcelona announced club legend Lionel Messi would leave Camp Nou. PSG have moved fast and the Argentine star is ready to join the Ligue 1 side to boost an incredibly talented squad and set up one of the mightiest teams of all time. This will probably be the greatest signing in history, but here we'll look back at seven other times when clubs landed superstars for free.
Messi's arrival at Parc des Princes as a free agent might be the most shocking move ever, but over the last few years, we have seen several big-name players switching teams for zero cost and delivering results.
The Poland international has left Borussia Dortmund at the end of the 2013/14 season after signing a pre-contract with Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich just a few months ago. Robert Lewandowski then went on to become one of the most prolific strikers on the planet.
He caught the soccer world's attention by helping the Black and Yellows reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 2012/13 but only one year later he joined the opponents. It was a shocking move at that time, and Lewandowski has certainly lived up to expectations amassing 294 goals in 329 appearances with the Bavarians.
An Italian legend, Andrea Pirlo's switch from AC Milan to Juventus in 2011 took the soccer community by surprise. Not only he was a Rossoneri legend but one of the country's finest talents, it didn't make sense he joined the rivals for free.
He was 31 at the time, but if Milan thought he didn't have much left, they were completely wrong. The Architect went on to win four Serie A titles in a row and helped Juve in their UCL 2014/15 run to the grand final.
Sometimes you don't know what you've got in your hands until you lose it. If not, ask Manchester United, who let Paul Pogba leave for free in 2012 and only four years later they brought him back in a record-breaking deal.
The Frenchman has had such a fantastic rise with Juventus that the Red Devils considered he was worth the mind-blowing $115.50 million bid. Pogba's free transfer to Juve not only paid off due to his performances but mainly because of the profit the club has made with his exit.
Could you leave a club after nine years to join its lifelong rivals? And for free? Well, Sol Campbell did it in 2001, when he left Tottenham to become an Arsenal player in one of the most controversial - but successful - moves in history.
The former English defender, however, became a key piece in Arsene Wenger's project in golden years for the Gunners. Campbell lifted the Premier League trophy twice, including the last one for Arsenal so far belonging to the Invincibles.
Bayern Munich have the ability to attract the Bundesliga's finest talents, but they don't even have to bother in splashing the cash sometimes. Just like they did when they signed Lewandowski, the Bavarians acquired Schalke's Leon Goretzka for free in 2018.
The German international has quickly made an impact and earned a spot in the starting XI, but he played his best soccer in 2019/20. In a season halted by the pandemic, Bayern returned to the pitch strongly and won the Champions League in great fashion with a Goretzka in his prime.
Eight years and 23 trophies later, Dani Alves bid farewell to Barcelona in 2016 as a free agent and chased a new challenge with Italian giants Juventus in Serie A. The following season he was on the move again and joined PSG also for free.
Even though he didn't stay long in Italy, his one-year stint at the Old Lady was one to remember. After all, he won two titles, but his best was seen in the Champions League. Unfortunately, Dani Alves and that incredible Juventus squad was left empty-handed by Real Madrid in the grand final.
The Swedish superstar made a shocking move to the Premier League in 2016 following a four-year tenure at Paris Saint-Germain. Jose Mourinho's Manchester United landed a dependable striker for free and Zlatan has certainly responded.
Ibrahimovic had impactful first months at Old Trafford, but a cruciate ligament injury ruled him out for most of the second half of the campaign and also kept him on the sidelines in the beginning of 2017/18. Later that year, another injury prevented him from taking part with the first team and then embarked on a new adventure with LA Galaxy.