Remember the days of swapping a rare Charizard card for Blastoise and Venusaur in the playground?
For those of you for whom that means absolutely nothing we’ll move swiftly on. We’re here to talk about transfer swaps.
Down the years football clubs have decided to sit down and put their differences aside to swap players. But there’s always a winner and loser.
Andrea Pirlo for Andres Guglielminpietro (Inter Milan and AC Milan)
In 2001 Pirlo was just an uncapped Italian midfielder trying to make his way in the game while Guglielminpietro, nicknamed Guly, was an Argentina international.
So Inter didn’t think twice when allowing Pirlo to trade places with Guly and join AC Milan.
Guly would go on to win, well…, nothing, while Pirlo would win the Champions League twice, two Serie A titles and a World Cup while at Milan.
We’ll let you decide who got the better end of the bargain.
Ivan Zamorano for Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid and Inter Milan)
Not all trades have to be one sided. In 1996 Real Madrid swapped Ivan Zamorano, who’d given them four years of good service, for Inter’s Roberto Carlos.
Zamorano was Spain’s top goalscorer as Madrid won La Liga in 1995, while Carlos had won nothing in his one full season in Milan.
The Brazilian would go on to establish himself as the best left-back in the world and change the way the world looked at full-backs.
Zamorano spent five years in Milan and while he never hit the heights of Madrid he did manage to win the UEFA Cup alongside Ronaldo in 1998.
Fabio Cannavaro for Fabian Carini (Inter Milan and Juventus)
In 2004 Inter had a problem. They’d signed Cannavaro, one of Italy’s leading defenders, but he’d proved a bit of a dud, with injuries holding him back.
So they went, cap in hand, to Juventus. Had they anyone to swap?
What happened next was one of the biggest robberies in football. Juventus signed Cannavaro for a bit of spare change and Uruguayan goalkeeper Fabian Carini.
Carini winded up as Inter’s fourth choice goalkeeper while Cannavaro proved to be one of the best defenders of his generation.
Clarence Seedorf for Francesco Coco (Inter Milan and AC Milan)
Coco’s career is something of a mystery. He’s played for both Milan sided and Barcelona despite always being in the shadows of other players.
In 2002 AC went to their cross-city rivals with a bundle of cash and Coco for Dutch powerhouse Seedorf.
Surprisingly, given Seedorf’s pedigree as a two-time Champions League winner at that stage, Inter said yes.
Coco played 26 times in five years at Inter and missed out on a move to Man City in 2007 when he reportedly turned up to the training ground smoking.
How do you say ‘maverick’ in Italian?
Jose Antonio Reyes for Julio Baptista (Arsenal and Real Madrid)
In 2006 Arsenal and Madrid agreed on an ol’ fashioned player for player swap. No money. Just footballers.
The Beast swapped Madrid for London, with Reyes going the other way on season-long loans.
Reyes came off the bench on the final day of the season to score twice and win Madrid a league title, while Baptista scored four against Liverpool in a League Cup game.
For pure efficiency Madrid got the better end of the bargain. But Arsenal gained a cult hero, which shouldn’t be sniffed at.
Michael Owen for Antonio Nunez (Liverpool and Real Madrid)
What does £8million and an uncapped Spanish defender get you?
Well, in 2004 Madrid paid Liverpool £8mil and one Nunez in order to take Owen off their hands.
Eager to make a good impression, Nunez injured his knee in his very first training session and was out for three months.
Owen’s luck wasn’t much better although 13 goals in 36 games is a better return than people give him credit for.
Ashley Cole for William Gallas (Arsenal and Chelsea)
Having nearly swerved off the road after hearing Arsenal’s contract offer, Cole’s time in North London was up.
So Chelsea offered £5m and William Gallas to make London’s roads safe again and offer Cole a way out.
Gallas wouldn’t win another honour but Cole added a Premier League, four FA Cups, a League Cup, Community Shield, Champions League and the Europa League to his trophy cabinet.
Sorry Arsene, Chelsea comfortably won this one.
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