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The list of €40million+ transfers that happened before 2003 is pure football porn

Back in the day spending over £30million used to mean something... this nostalgic list will satisfy you in ways your partner never could

These days football clubs will drop €40million on a player only halfway out the womb.

But back in the day, and by ‘day’ in mean anytime before 2003, you had to be a seriously high profile player to be worthy of such a price tag.

Incredibly, Andriy Shevchenko’s doomed move to Chelsea is the only one of the 50 most expensive transfers ever to occur between 2002 and 2008; but 11 happened prior to that.

Here we marvel at the magnificence of those 11 transfers and, in some instances, ponder how much the fee would equate to in modern dosh, what with inflation and all that.

1999 – Christian Vieri 

He scored 259 career goals but all he wanted was to open the batting in an Ashes Test for Australia

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He scored 259 career goals but all he wanted was to open the batting in an Ashes Test for Australia

Everyone’s favourite Italian target man with an Australian twang to his accent is the only man to have demanded over €40million in the halcyon days before the Millennium bug infected us all.

Lazio sold Vieri to Inter Milan a year after purchasing him for €25million as the San Siro residents attempted their own Galacticos project.

He scored 123 goals in 190 games over six years but only got one trophy to show for it, a Coppa Italia in his last season.

2000 – Luis Figo

Nice kit, be a shame if someone were to get pig blood on it…

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Nice kit, be a shame if someone were to get pig blood on it…

The transfer that made the Portuguese winger a magnet for severed pig heads.

Figo did the unthinkable at the turn of the century when he swapped Barcelona for Real Madrid.

A €62million payoff (which works out similar to the £55m Man City paid for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015) wasn’t enough to cushion the blow for Barca fans who would rather eat a kilo of their own faeces than speak his name… probably.

2000 – Hernan Crespo

Football peaked when Crespo and Salas played together

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Football peaked when Crespo and Salas played together

We dare you to think of the long-locked Argentine forward and not whistle the Football Italia theme music.

Crespo was part of a formidable Parma side which also included Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluigi Buffon and Juan Sebastian Veron.

Lazio forked out €58.5million and Crespo repaid them by banging in 26 Serie A goals to take the Golden Boot (or Capocannoniere for the purists out there).

2001 – Zinedine Zidane

But why did he have to be No5?

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But why did he have to be No5?

€75million was an obscene amount of money to spend on a human who kicks a leather sack of air around a rectangle-shaped field in 2001.

But if anyone justified such spending it was the masterful Zizou.

Real Madrid poached the Frenchman from Juventus a year after he was named Player of the Tournament at Euro 2000.

Taking into account inflation, this transfer would be the fourth highest of all time.

2001 – Gianluigi Buffon

You: Say the first thing that comes into your head. Ready? Clean sheet… Me: Gigi Buffon

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You: Say the first thing that comes into your head. Ready? Clean sheet… Me: Gigi Buffon

This transfer is arguably the most remarkable in football history.

Juventus paid €53million (£33m) to Parma for a GOALKEEPER in 2001!

Buffon remains the most costly keeper in history having held the record for 16 years and possibly longer depending on the details of the Ederson to Man City deal.

Given that he’s still one of the best in the world at 39-years-old you have to say it was a wise investment.

2001 – Gaizka Mendieta

Shut your eyes and remember the Valencia years

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Shut your eyes and remember the Valencia years

Just how did Mendieta go from being the sixth most expensive player in history to being loaned to Middlesbrough in just two years?

The Spanish midfielder was a sensation for Valencia but flopped for Lazio who probably still regret the €48million they paid for him.

He scored zero goals in 31 games for the Rome club having averaged a goal every three games in his last two seasons in Spain.

2001 – Juan Sebastian Veron

This should have worked. Why didn’t it?

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This should have worked. Why didn’t it?

Many Premier League loyalists will never know how good the ‘Little Witch’ actually was.

He was Parma and Lazio’s heartbeat but after Man United paid the latter €45million, something about the English soil sapped his magic.

To this day, Sir Alex Ferguson defends the transfer and reinforces his belief in Veron’s ability but most consider him one of United’s biggest flops.

Quirky fact, he’s officially signed for Argentine club Estudiantes four times in his career (five if you count his loan deal).

2001 – Rui Costa

Currently getting this made into a poster for the office

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Currently getting this made into a poster for the office

The man too cool for shinpads.

Fiorentina desperately needed some cash and so they were forced to sell their best asset to AC Milan for €44million.

Costa’s effortless brilliance helped Milan win the Coppa Italia and Champions League in 2003 then Serie A the following season.

2001 – Pavel Nedved

Old football > New football

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Old football > New football

This is the fifth time Lazio have appeared on this list as either buyer or seller.

The Rome club were the ones pocketing the moolah on this occasion as Juventus handed over  €41million for the Czech midfielder.

Two years later Nedved reached his irresistible peak and hoarded a ton of individual awards, including a little known gong known as the Ballon d’Or.

2002 – Rio Ferdinand

Nice suit, mate

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Nice suit, mate

This wasn’t quite Figo levels of betrayal but when the best English defender around traded Yorkshire for Lancashire he made a few thousand enemies for life.

Leeds fan welcomed Man United’s Ferdinand back to Elland Road with a host of ‘Judas’ chants and a few unsavoury banners.

The €48million man didn’t mind too much though, especially when the trophies started rolling in.

Revisiting our old pal inflation, Fergie paid the equivalent of £45million in 2017 money.

2002 – Ronaldo

The best No9 of all time

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The best No9 of all time

No nostalgic football list is complete without the original Ronaldo.

The prolific Brazilian forward twice had the pleasure of breaking the world transfer record (PSV to Barcelona and Barcelona to Inter) but the highest fee paid for him came courtesy of Real Madrid.

He followed the aforementioned Figo and Zidane in becoming a Galactico after a €46million move to the Spanish capital from Inter.

Ronaldo joined just after firing Brazil to their fifth World Cup, not bad for a bloke with dodgy knees.

Ronaldo No 9 SV