New data reveals the 10 most expensive players in world football

In world football, the values of the most expensive players in the game continue to rise.

Transfer fees have continued to grow over the years, with fees over £100 million being quoted for deals involving top stars such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Jack Grealish.

New data from CIES Football Observatory has revealed the top 100 most expensive players across the top five leagues as of January 1, 2022. The calculations do take in account contract lengths, so players like Mbappe feature lower down the list than perhaps you would normally expect.

We’re going to take a look at the top 10 of the most expensive footballers, concluding with who currently is the most valuable player in the world:

10. Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona) – €115.2 million

Opening up the top 10 list is Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

The Dutch international has impressed onlookers with his dynamism in midfield, his box-to-box abilities and his calmness in and out of possession. Los Cules secured his signing from Ajax in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth around £65m.

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Since then, de Jong’s value has only continued to rise. However, he has been linked with a move away from the club in the summer. That means one of the most expensive players in the world may be available for a lower price than his calculated actual value.

9. Pedri (FC Barcelona) – €118 million

Pedri Barcelona
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The second Barcelona player on this list, midfield sensation Pedri has already lit up La Liga and the international stage at just 19.

The Spaniard has already gained comparisons to Barca legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta. He is comfortable on the ball, can dictate play with precision, and can also operate in several different roles across midfield.

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Pedri recently signed a new contract with Barca that contains a buyout clause of €1 billion. He isn’t going anywhere for the time being.

8. Ruben Dias (Manchester City) – €120.5 million

Ruben Dias became Manchester City’s club-record signing when he joined from Benfica in the summer of 2020.

The Portuguese defender instantly established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League. His performances earned him the Premier League Player of the Season award last season.

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Now in his second campaign with Pep Guardiola‘s side, Dias continues to impress. His value also continues to rise.

7. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) – €122.3 million

Signed by Bayern Munich in 2018 as a winger, Alphonso Davies was converted to left-back following a series of injuries to key players. It has turned out to be a masterstroke.

The Canadian’s all-action displays dove earned him plenty of plaudits. He has become one of the best full-backs globally and finished in third place in the rankings for the 2020 Golden Boy award, behind Ansu Fati and Erling Haaland.

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Davies is also a significant player at international level. The 21-year-old has 10 goals in 30 appearances for Canada, who are currently on course to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

6. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) – €130.1 million

Jude Bellingham became one of the most-talked-about young players in the world from the moment he made his professional debut for Birmingham City in August 2018. Initially used in a left midfield role, he eventually transitioned into the centre.

A year after his professional debut, Borussia Dortmund came calling. Bellingham moved to Germany for an initial fee of £25 million – and has continued to impress.

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Last year, he made his England debut and was named in Gareth Southgate’s final squad for Euro 2020. The 18-year-old made three substitute appearances during the tournament. This term, he has two goals and five assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund.

5. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen) – €133 million

Florian Wirtz
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At the age of 18, Florian Wirtz has burst onto the scene in the last two seasons.

In this campaign, he has recorded an incredible five goals and eight assists in just 15 Bundesliga appearances. His performances were enough to secure the Bundesliga Player of the Month award in September. Wirtz made his debut for the Germany senior team in the same month and has since received four caps from his country.

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4. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) – €133.9 million

Mason Greenwood has continued to enhance his burgeoning reputation at Manchester United this season.

He opened the campaign with goals in three consecutive Premier League fixtures against Leeds, Southampton and Wolves.

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In December, he also scored in his side’s 1-1 draw in the Champions League against Young Boys.

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Game time has been slightly harder to come by in recent weeks for Greenwood, but the 20-year-old’s current value of €133.9 million emphasises just what a tremendous talent he already is.

3. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – €142.5 million

Erling Haaland quickly established himself as one of the most potent strikers in world football when he signed for Borussia Dortmund in 2019.

This season has been no different. The Norwegian has netted 13 goals in just 11 Bundesliga appearances and three goals in three games in the Champions League. Europe’s top clubs are chasing the 21-year-old – and it is easy to see why.

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Even with an estimated value of €142.5 million, making him one of the most expensive players in the world, Haaland’s quality and effectiveness in the final third means a colossal fee is undoubtedly worth paying.

2. Phil Foden (Manchester City) – €152.6 million

The 2020/21 season saw Phil Foden record his highest seasonal figures for Manchester City when it came to goals and assists. He netted on nine occasions and provided five assists in the Premier League.

Those numbers solidified Foden’s position as an undisputed first-choice starter, if it wasn’t already clear. He has five goals and three assists this season in 15 Premier League appearances.

Foden was also named in Gareth Southgate‘s squad for Euro 2020. He started the first two group games and appeared as a substitute in the 2-1 semi-final win over Denmark, capping off a superb season for the 21-year-old. The City starlet is now one of the most expensive players in world football.

1. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) – €166.4 million

Vinicius Junior most expensive footballers
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At a value of €166.4 million, Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior is considered the most expensive footballer globally by CIES.

It is not hard to see why. The Brazilian has skill and pace in abundance and has developed a lethal eye for the back of the net.

Vinicius’s game previously had almost everything – except goals. After three seasons wearing the Real shirt, his highest seasonal tally in La Liga was three. However, in this campaign, he has 10 goals and four assists in just 18 league games. He has also scored three times in the Champions League.

Last month, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti described the Brazilian as having the potential to win the Ballon d’Or. His position as the most expensive footballer in the world game also suggests that he most certainly can.

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