Portuguese transfers from the past inflated to today's market
The global football market has come a long way since the start of the 1990s, with inflation leading to some jaw-dropping sums of money being exchanged in the modern game.
But how would some of the transfers of the past look in today’s market? It’s an intriguing question, and thanks to a fascinating study by Totally Money, we can now find out exactly that.
How much would the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Deco, Pepe and Paulo Futre be worth in today’s market And, while Joao Felix is, in reality, the most expensive Portuguese player in the history of the game, costing Atletico Madrid 120 million euros this summer, is that still the case when we take into account inflation? Both these questions and more can be answered thanks to this study by TotallyMoney - and that is exactly what we have done here.
Whose value inflated the most?
There are a lot of transfers which, as you would expect, increase significantly in value when you scale them up to today’s transfer market, particularly those from the 1990s. Fernando Couto, for example, was bought by Parma in the 1994-95 season for just £2.4million. That in today’s market, though, is deemed by the study as being the equivalent of £34.5million - a massive increase of £32.1million if he were sold today.
Paulo Futre is another exceptional example. He cost Marseille just £4million back in 1993 when aged 27. However, in today’s market, Totally Money calculate that such a deal would be worth a jaw-dropping £62,658,110 - a staggering £58million more than he was actually bought for, showing how the finances in football have spiralled in the last 25 years.
An even better illustration of how football prices have inflated so significantly is shown by when a 22-year old Rui Costa swapped Benfica for Fiorentina. That year, he cost the Italian outfit just £4.95million. Scale that up to today’s market value, though, and he would have cost an enormous £70million - 65 million pounds more than the price actually paid for him.
However, the player to see their value increase most significantly compared to the actual transfer fee paid is from a far more recent season - and it is, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United sold him for a then record sum of £80million in 2010. Today, though, that deal would have cost the Spanish club a mouth-watering £195million, way over double what Manchester United actually received for him.
Portugal’s 35 most expensive players based on today’s market
Here, we take a look at the top 35 most expensive Portuguese footballers since the start of the 1990s when scaled up to today’s market, as stated in the study conducted by Totally Money.
35. Sergio Conceicao (Lazio to Parma 2000-01)
Actual Price Paid: £15,300,000. Price in Today’s Market: £39,036,837.
We start the list with Porto’s current manager Segio Conceicao. A highly accomplished footballer in his own right, he represented Portugal 56 times across 7 years, and 19 years ago cost Parma £15million. No small sum of money and, while the winger may have only stayed at the club for one season, would today have cost the Serie A outfit in the region of 39 million pounds.
34. Paulo Sousa (Dortmund to Inter Milan in 1997-98)
Actual Price Paid: £6,840,000. Price in Today’s Market: £39,418,592.
In at number thirty-four is another player from a couple of decades ago and another current manager, Paulo Sousa. The current Bordeaux boss switched Dortmund for Milan in 1998m just 3 years before his early retirement, in a deal worth close to £7million. Today, Inter would likely have had to part with close to 40 million pounds to secure his signature.
33. Goncalo Guedes (Paris Saint Germain to Valencia in 2018-19)
Actual Price Paid: £36,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £40,815,172.
From one extreme to another, in at number 33 is a very recent transfer in Goncalo Guedes, who cost Valencia £36million last summer. That value has, unsurprisingly, stayed about the same in today’s market. Whether it will prove good value for money, only time will tell.
32. Joao Cancelo (Valencia to Juventus in 2018-19)
Actual Price Paid: £36,360,000. Price in Today’s Market: £41,223,324.
Another very recent transfer, Cancelo cost Juventus just over £36million in 2018. He made a name for himself while in Italy and is subsequently widely regarded as one of the best right backs in the world. He has since moved to Manchester City, for a healthy profit.
31. Joao Moutinho (Porto to Monaco in 2013-14)
Actual Price Paid: £22,500,000. Price in Today’s Market: £41,238,879.
The third most capped player in the history of Portuguese football, Moutinho made the switch to Monaco in 2013 for £22million and had a successful time in France, even winning Ligue 1 ahead of PSG in 2017. In today’s market, a 27-year old Moutinho would have been worth about double the fee actually paid. Instead, a 31-year old Moutinho only ended up costing Wolves £5million. Whichever way you look at it, it’s quite the bargain.
30. Manuel Fernandes (Benfica to Valencia in 2007-08)
Actual Price Paid: £16,200,000. Price in Today’s Market: £41,250,229.
At the time Benfica’s second most expensive departure in history, only behind Simao who was bought one month earlier, 21-year old Manuel Fernandes joined Valencia in 2007 for £16million, the equivalent of what would now be a move worth £41million. Fernandes stayed at Valencia for 4 years before falling out of favour and joining Besiktas.
29. Pauleta (Bordeaux to Paris Saint-Germain in 2003-04)
Actual Price Paid: £9,900,000. Price in Today’s Market: £41,587,455.
One of Portugal’s greatest servants, being the national team’s second highest record goalscorer with 47 goals, Pauleta moved from one French team to another in 2003 after a tremendous 3 seasons at Bordeux.
28. Vitor Baia (Porto to Barcelona in 1996-97)
Actual Price Paid: £5,850,000. Price in Today’s Market: £42,722,514.
The only goalkeeper on the list, Vitor Baia is one of the great shot-stoppers of Portuguese football, and in 1996, moved to Barcelona for close to £6million. A fair amount of money for a goalkeeper at the time, coming four years before Buffon’s £33million move to Juventus really moved the goalposts. Today, however, Baia would be worth £42million, which would make him the third most expensive goalkeeper of all time.
27. Renato Sanches (Benfica to Bayern Munich in 2016-17)
Actual Price Paid: £31,500,000. Price in Today’s Market: £43,254,255.
Renato Sanches’ stay at Bayern Munich was wholly forgettable, though it doesn’t stop him coming in at number 27 on this list. Moving to Bayern for over £30million in 2016 after an exceptional debut season with Benfica and Portugal, it looked like great business, but just didn’t work out.
26. Hugo Viana (Sporting to Newcastle United in 2002-03)
Actual Price Paid: £11,480,000. Price in Today’s Market: £43,995,503.
Another transfer from almost a couple of decades ago, Hugo Viana moved to Newcastle United for £11.5M in 2002 when just 19 years old. It was a record amount of money paid for a teenager for the English club and, although he did not have the most successful time in England, in today’s market, the deal would have likely been worth closer to £44million.
25. Jorge Andrade (Porto to Deportivo La Coruna in 2002-03)
Actual Price Paid: £11,700,000. Price in Today’s Market: £44,838,622.
In the same year as Hugo Viana, Jorge Andrade also left Portugal for a similar fee, moving to Derportivo La Coruna aged 24. The centreback went on to have a successful five seasons at the club.
24. Bernardo Silva (Monaco to Manchester City in 2017-18)
Actual Price Paid: £45,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £45,501,265.
Only 24th on the list, it’s Bernardo Silva. And it really establishes how much of a bargain Bernardo Silva was for Manchester City. Very probably one of the ten best Portuguese players to have played the sport, the fact that he only sits 24th on the list says it all, only costing Manchester City £45million.
23. Andre Gomes (Valencia to Barcelona in 2016-17)
Actual Price Paid: £33,300,000. Price in Today’s Market: £45,725,926.
After a tremendous time at Valencia, Gomes earned a big move to European heavyweights Barcelona for £33million in 2016. He failed to make a significant impact though, and did not prove particularly good value for money, that price likely to have been £45million if it were based on today’s market.
22. Simao (Benfica to Atletico Madrid in 2007-08)
Actual Price Paid: £18,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £45,833,588.
At number 22, another excellent servant for the national team in Simao. Having joined Benfica from Barcelona in 2001, he eventually returned to Spain in 2007, costing Atletico 18 million pounds - in today’s market, a move that would have been worth about £45million, decent value for money for a player who represented Atletico well across 3 seasons.
21. Jose Bosingwa (Porto to Chelsea in 2008-09)
Actual Price Paid: £18,500,000. Price in Today’s Market: £47,965,922.
Who could forget Bosingwa? After a strong showing at Porto, he was brought in at Chelsea by former Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. It proved to be the start of a decent four year spell at the club for a fee that, relative today, was worth around £48million.
20. Tiago (Benfica to Chelsea in 2004-05)
Actual Price Paid: £13,500,000. Price in Today’s Market: £48,435,534.
After a successful spell at Braga, Tiago was quickly snapped up by Benfica, where he only continued to impress. That led to Mourinho bringing him in at Chelsea, where he was a regular in the starting lineup, and was only on the losing side once in 34 league matches. An outstanding return for a player who only cosr £13.5million - though in today’s market, he likely would have cost close to £50M.
19. Joao Mario (Sporting to Inter Milan in 2016-17)
Actual Price Paid: £36,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £49,433,434.
Yet another recent signing, Joao Mario was one of the players sold for big money under the presidency of Bruno de Carvalho - and it’s fair to say that he hasn’t lived up to the hefty price tag just yet, now out on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow. Inter fans will be pleased the signing happened when it did though, as if the move had happened today, Inter would likely have had to part with an addition 13 million pounds.
18. Paulo Sousa (Sporting to Juventus in 1994-95)
Actual Price Paid: £3,600,000. Price in Today’s Market: £51,186,558.
He came in at number 34, and he’s here at number 18 again too. Intriguingly, he only cost Juventus £3.6million, pretty much half the price that he cost Inter Milan four years later, but when inflated to today’s market price, it is his move to Juventus that is deemed more expensive, quite considerably too. The fact he was only 23 will play a role, while in the space of just 4 years, inflation will also have had a role.
17. Ricardo Quaresma (Porto to Inter Milan in 2008-09)
Actual Price Paid: £22,140,000. Price in Today’s Market: £57,559,106.
Euro 2016 champion Ricardo Quaresma has had something of a journeyman career, moving around several times and covering various countries in the process. It is his first move away from Porto, though, that puts him at number 17, when Inter Milan were willing to pay £22million for his services. He was an unspectacular signing overall, and it was a fee that would be the equivalent of about £57.5million in today’s market.
16. Nani (Sporting to Manchester United in 2007-08)
Actual Price Paid: £22,950,000. Price in Today’s Market: £58,437,825.
A 20-year old Nani moved to Manchester United with a huge reputation and hopes that he could go on to replicate Cristiano Ronaldo and, while he may not have hit those loft heights, went on to have a very good career at Manchester United, a bit of a bargain at £23million. Even scaled up to modern-day inflation, £58M seems a fair fee to pay.
15. Joao Cancelo (Juventus to Manchester City in 2019-20)
Actual Price Paid: £58,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £58,000,000.
Cancelo makes another appearance on this list thanks to his big-money move to Manchester City in the summer. Even if you inflate all the prices of Portuguese players since the start of the 1990s, he comes in at number 15 - and it is testament to his ability down the right flank.
14. Paulo Futre (Benfica to Marseille in 1993-94)
Actual Price Paid: £4,050,000. Price in Today’s Market: £62,658,110.
Paulo Futre lived his playing career in a very different time period to some of the other legends of Portuguese football such as Bernardo Silva, Luis Figo, Nani, Cristiano… it meant that his move to Marseille in 1993 was for a fee of just £4million. Such a valuation must be seen as pennies for anyone born after the turn of the century, but as the study shows, if you were to inflate that to modern-day prices, he would have cost over £62million, which again illustrates the ability of the skilful winger.
13. Paulo Ferreira (Porto to Chelsea in 2004-05)
Actual Price Paid: £18,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £64,580,712.
Paulo Ferreira made the move to Chelsea alongside Jose Mourinho in 2004 after winning the Champions League, costing a total of £18million. A solid fullback, he was probably worth the money paid, though when inflated to modern-day prices, it comes to a valuation of about £65million - a huge sum of money, but the fact that he was a Champions League winner makes the fee paid seem fair. He went on to have a great career with Chelsea too.
12. Deco (Porto to Barcelona in 2004-05)
Actual Price Paid: £18,900,000. Price in Today’s Market: £67,809,747.
Another Champions League winner that was on the move after that stunning triumph, Deco joined Barcelona for £18.9million when 26 years of age. It proved a great move for both club and player, and in modern day terms, Deco would have been worth £68million instead.
11. Pepe (Porto to Real Madrid in 2007-08)
Actual Price Paid: £27,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £68,750,382.
Yet another player to move from Porto, albeit on this occasion a few years after the Champions League glory, Pepe’s move to Real Madrid came just over a decade ago, and is still, even now, an accomplished centreback playing regularly for a top European club. The fact he only cost £27million shows how far prices for centrebacks have risen since then, and now, he would be worth about £69million, cementing his place amongst the best defenders in world football.
10. Danny (Dynamo Kiev to Zenit St Peterbsurg in 2007-08)
Actual Price Paid: £27,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: EST:£68,750,382.
Danny wasn’t actually included on the study because his transfer took place between two teams outside the top 5 leagues in European football. Nevertheless, his move from Dynamo Kiev to Zenit both cost the same and took place in the same year as Pepe’s move to Real Madrid. We can therefore estimate that, in today’s market, he would have cost about the same amount - a huge £68million.
9. Rui Costa (Benfica to Fiorentina in 1994-95)
Actual Price Paid: £5,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £70,381,559.
Rui Costa makes the first of two appearances on this list at number 9 - and rightly so. Looking back, it seems crazy that Benfica only received £5million for him in 1994 when he was just 22 years of age; scale that up to the modern market though, and it would be worth a scintillating £70million. That’s more like it.
8. Fabio Coentrao (Benfica to Real Madrid in 2011-12)
Actual Price Paid: £27,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £71,765,554.
Coentrao moved for £27million in 2011, switching the red of Lisbon for the white of Madrid. It was a decent sum for Benfica to bring in, making him one of the most valuable sales in the club’s history at that point in time. Had he been sold today, though, he could have gone for £71million.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting CP to Manchester United 2003-04)
Actual Price Paid: £17,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £71,832,877.
In at number 7 is CR7, Cristiano Ronaldo. The first of three occasions that he is going to appear on this list, which really says it all. His move to Manchester United was for 17 million pounds in 2003; back then, for an 18 year old, it was seen as a huge sum of money. Today, however, Sporting could bring in £71million for a player of his calibre, which is close to how much United sold him to Real Madrid for in 2009. A perfect illustration of the sheer scale of inflation over the last 15 years.
6. Rui Costa (Fiorentina to AC Milan in 2001-02)
Actual Price Paid: £37,800,000. Price in Today’s Market: £85,371,846.
Rui Costa popping up again here. The man Joao Felix is often compared to made a big £37.8million to AC Milan when 29 years of age; a substantial fee for someone fast approaching 30 - but what a signing he proved to be in the end though, serving AC Milan brilliantly over the next 5 seasons. In today’s market, the fee paid is the equivalent of about £85million. Testament to the quality of the player.
5. Ricardo Carvalho (Porto to Chelsea in 2004-05)
Actual Price Paid: £27,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £96,871,067.
Ricardo Carvalho was another to follow Mourinho to Chelsea after lifting the Champions League trophy. He cost £27million, substantial money for a centreback at the time - and that’s further shown by the fact that, when inflated to today’s prices, it goes up to a gargantuan £96.8million - making him more valuable than Harry Maguire. Deservedly so for one of the best defenders in footballing history. He went on to move to Real Madrid in the 2010-11 season for just over £7million - in today’s market, calculated to be a valuation of £19,827,295. Quite the bargain for a player that went on to play 77 matches for Real Madrid.
4. Joao Felix (Benfica to Atletico Madrid in 2018-19)
Actual Price Paid: £113,400,000. Price in Today’s Market: £113,400,000.
Not much needs to be said about Felix, other than the fact that in reality he is the most expensive Portuguese footballer in history. On this list, though, he only comes in at number 4. He proved at Benfica that he is fully worth £113million, but whether he’ll go on to prove his worth in Atletico colours is another question.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid to Juventus 2018-19)
Actual Price Paid: £105,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £119,384,378.
Ronaldo’s second appearance on this list puts him third overall - and it’s for his move from Real Madrid to Juventus last summer. Despite the move only happening one year ago, such is the nature of the rapidly evolving market, 33-year old Ronaldo would already be worth £14million more today compared to last year. Quite something.
2. Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000-01)
Actual Price Paid: £54,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £137,777,072.
Number 2: Luis Figo. He had to be on this list, and his scaled up price shows just how good he was. He cost Real Madrid £54million when he made the controversial move from Barcelona, but today, it would be a deal worth £137million - putting him above any of the three Cristiano Ronaldo moves. Additionally, when Luis Figo first moved to Barcelona in 1995, he cost just a total of £2.5million, a miniscule fee in the modern day market. Scale that figure up to today’s valuation, and Figo would have cost a far more significant sum of £21million. For a 23-year old, a decent sum of money, though when you compare that to the £113million paid for 19-year old Joao Felix this summer, it still looks a real steal.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United to Real Madrid 2009-10)
Actual Price Paid: £84,000,000. Price in Today’s Market: £195,166,553.
To round off the list, Cristiano Ronaldo yet again. If there were any doubt about just how sensational this player is, in today’s market, he is worth well over double the price Real Madrid actually paid for him, which would have made him the most expensive player in history.