This is an illusion, but it is also interesting to think about how much the best players in the past are worth now. Since the beginning of the 21st century, football transfer fees have been increasing exponentially. Whenever transfer rumors spread, there are always people complaining or even angry about such a high transfer fee.
In this era, those seemingly ordinary players often move to the club at tens of millions of dollars, and the best players are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Ordinary bystanders outside the circle will find these figures a bit shocking. And some clubs' diehards over the years will shake their heads in disbelief.
In 2017, Neymar transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain with an astronomical figure of 222 million euros (200 million pounds / 262 million US dollars). This transfer record has yet to be broken. Since then, huge transfer fees have become the norm in international football. You can look at the football transfer cost rankings so far in 2017. The transfer fees of eight players including Ronaldo, Griezmann, Coutinho and Mbappé have all exceeded 100 million euros in the top ten.
In this era of money bubble, people will inevitably compare the current transfer fee with the past. One of the key points of discussion is-how much are the best players in the past worth in today's transfer market? If Lukaku's worth can reach 80 million pounds (97 million US dollars), what is the worth of Maradona or Pele? If it is a transfer now, how much will Real Madrid pay for Zidane? These interesting controversies continue.
Due to various environmental changes and differences, it is difficult to calculate exactly how much the transfer fees of past players in the modern market are, but basic economic indicators such as inflation can be used to make a rough estimate.
For example, Barcelona spent £5 million (US$7.6 million) in 1982 to bring Maradona from the Boca Juniors to Camp Nou. After calculating using the general market inflation rate, this cost is approximately 17.5 million pounds (21 million US dollars) in 2020 currency.
Obviously, most people think this number is too cheap, especially for players like Maradona. Therefore, if a more realistic estimate is to be made, the characteristics of the football transfer market must also be fully considered. in fact,
Taking the Premier League as a typical representative, huge TV broadcast revenues are one of the main sources of funds for various clubs. These costs enable clubs to bear more transfer fees. Moreover, the modern and developed scouting system can help the team better discover those potential players, and the club will pay for their potential rather than the existing strength.
When determining the price of a turnaround, the talent of the player is not the only consideration. In addition to competitive value, clubs and agents also consider the so-called "market value" of players-that is, from a business perspective, their "star qualities".
Take Pele as an example. Most of his career has been spent in the Santos Club, and his transfer has not incurred corresponding transfer fees, so there is no historical reference to measure his worth today. However, he can be said to be a true global star in football, and he won the World Cup twice when he was only 23 years old. He is more talented than most of the successors of the so-called "Little Pele" and "New Pele".
Before Neymar, Ronaldo was a phenomenal Brazilian star. In 1997, his transfer fee reached nearly 20 million pounds. If you put it now,
. Although he is one of the best players ever and the spokesperson of Coca-Cola in the 1982 World Cup advertisement, his hot temper will make many clubs feel tricky, so it is expected that the transfer fee will inevitably be lowered.
According to a similar algorithm,
In short, the transfer fee is a very difficult thing to fully measure with rationality. Moreover, its value will fluctuate with the player's age, reputation, ability, remaining contract duration, etc. When chasing a player, the club’s status, the price it is willing and able to pay, and its desire for the player all directly affect the player’s transfer cost.
Therefore, although it is interesting to think about this topic, please keep this in mind, we will never really know the answer to this ancient question.