If Ángel Di María completes his touted transfer to Paris St Germain for a colossal €75 million he would become the most expensive Argentine player in football history. The top 5 is perhaps a better indication of the increase in money in football rather than the best footballers in recent times but here it is all the same…..
5. Javier Pastore – Palermo to Paris St Germain €43 million
Pastore’s move to Paris St Germain in 2011 puts him right up alongside some of Argentina’s best but given how things have worked out since moving to the Parc de Princes, any future fee would be significantly less than this. Interestingly, with Di María’s proposed switch to Paris, Pastore may well find himself surplus to requirements, in an effort for the club to balance the books. A rumoured move to Atlético Madrid to work under Diego Simeone could kickstart the 25-year-old enganche’s career.
Pastore began his career with Talleres de Córdoba but moved quickly to Huracán at the age of 18 in 2008. The lanky but elegant enganche quickly established himself in the side and in 2009 was integral to El Globo’s near championship triumph. This alerted several European sides but it was Palermo who captured Pastore, paying Huracán €7 million.
The following two seasons in Serie A proved that Pastore could perform at the highest level and he was named the Young Player of the Year in 2010. This prompted the big spending Parisians to part with €43 million.
4. Sergio Agüero – Atlético Madrid to Manchester City €45 million
Agüero’s most recent transfer which took him to Manchester City sees him at number four on the list, a potential move away from Eastlands would surely surpass this.
The rise of Agüero has perhaps been easy to predict given his debut for Independiente came when he was still only 15, making him the youngest player to debut in the league’s history. His superb performances for his boyhood club drew plenty of attention as did his exploits for Argentina’s under-20s, winning the World Championships in 2005 and 2007.
In 2006, Atlético Madrid paid €23 million, breaking the club’s transfer record and providing Independiente with the money for their new stadium. In Madrid, Agüero flourished and created a great partnership with Diego Forlan. The two were central to Atlético’s 2010 UEFA Cup triumph.
Manchester City, desperate to lift the Premiership trophy with their new-found riches, paid Atlético €45 million and reaped immediate rewards. In Agüero’s first season, City were crowned Champions with Kun scoring 23 goals in the season, including the dramatic late winner against QPR to win the title.
3. Juan Sebastián Verón – Lazio to Manchester United €46 million
La Brujita’s long career has only just come to an end but over the 20 years that is spanned, Verón was involved in a number of big money transfers. The pick of these being his switch to Manchester United in 2001 which is also the one remembered as probably the most disappointing.
Starting his career in La Plata with Estudiantes, Verón moved to Boca Juniors before Sven-Göran Eriksson brought him to Sampdoria for $8 million. Shortly after Parma paid $23 million and in his one season with Parma, they won the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup which led to Eriksson signing Verón again, this time for Lazio. The fee now was $40 million and again success followed, the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup were claimed in 2010 and Verón was considered one of the best midfielders in Europe.
Sir Alex Ferguson was an admirer and broke the British transfer record to sign Verón for €46 million. The move was largely considered a failure but Ferguson maintained that La Brujita was a “fucking great player.”
A £15 million move to Chelsea followed and then a loan to Inter Milan but his time in Europe was up. A return to Estudiantes yielded more success as his captained his love to Copa Libertadores glory.
If anyone is worthy of a place on this list it is La Brujita Verón.
2. Hernán Crespo – Parma to Lazio €56 million
Lazio’s deal for Hernán Crespo in 2000 made him the most expensive footballer in history at the time, as he was considered one of the best centre-forwards in the world.
Crespo began his career with River Plate and helped them to win the 1996 Copa Libertadores before heading to Italy in a career not too dissimilar to Verón’s.
Parma paved the way and after being part of the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup winning side, he moved to Lazio for a world record fee. Despite finishing as Serie A top scorer, Lazio were unable to defend their title and in 2002, they were forced to sell Crespo due to financial difficulties caused by their lavish spending.
Inter Milan paid €26 million and although there was a brief spell with Chelsea, who in turn paid £16.8 million, Crespo returned to Italy. 3 Scudetto titles followed in his second spell in Milan as his career eventually came to an end back with Parma.
Crespo’s record for Argentina is equally impressive, scoring 35 goals in 64 appearances, putting him behind only Lionel Messi and Gabriel Batistuta in the list of Argentina’s all time top goal scorers.
1. Ángel Di María – Real Madrid to Paris St Germain €75 million???
Di María’s proposed move would see him named the most expensive Argentine in history putting him at the top of an illustrious list.
Starting life at his hometown club of Rosario Central, Di María was highly sought after by Boca Juniors and other European sides. However, it was Benfica who managed to clinch the signing for around €8 million and El Fideo quickly established himself as a key player in the Estádio da Luz.
Eventually Real Madrid pounced and paid €25 million and since that transfer in 2010, Di María has gained the reputation of one of the best midfield players in Europe. He was instrumental in Real’s Champions League triumph last season but as is the Madrid way, he has been made surplus to requirements in order to bring in their latest superstar, James Rodríguez.
The deal to Paris St Germain will make Di María the sixth most expensive footballer of all time behind Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and James Rodriguez.
*The list appeared in Clarín