As one of the top five leagues in European football, Serie A has inevitably been graced by some of the finest players to ever play the game.
Italy’s top flight was widely viewed as the pinnacle of club football around 30 years ago, with its teams enjoying huge success in Europe.
Legendary players such as Diego Maradona, Marco van Basten and Zinedine Zidane were amongst a plethora of top stars who plied their trade in Serie A at that time.
From a financial perspective Italian football was the dominant force in world football long before that, with Serie A clubs breaking the world transfer record 15 times between 1952 and 1992.
Although there has subsequently been a shift in power in Europe with the rise of the Premier League and La Liga, Serie A remains an attractive proposition to the world’s top stars.
Top 20 Most Expensive Transfers
Cristiano Ronaldo’s £105.30 million move from Real Madrid to Juventus in 2018 smashed the previous transfer record set by Gonzalo Higuain (£81m) when he joined Juve from Napoli two years earlier.
Here’s the current top 20 list of most expensive transfers in Serie A.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid to Juventus – £105.3m in 2018
2. Gonzalo Higuain – Napoli to Juventus – £81m in 2016
3. Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax to Juventus – £76.95m in 2019
4. Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United to Inter Milan – £58.5m in 2019
5. Hernan Crespo – Parma to Lazio – £51.13m in 2000
6. Gianluigi Buffon – Parma to Juventus – £47.6m in 2001
7. Gaizka Mendieta – Valencia to Lazio – £43.2m in 2001
8. Christian Vieri – Lazio to inter Milan – £41.83m in 1999
9. Pavel Nedved – Lazio to Juventus – £41.50m in 2001
10. Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus to AC Milan – £37.8m in 2017
11. Rui Costa – Fiorentina to AC Milan – £37.18m in 2001
12. Joao Cancelo – Valencia to Juventus – £36.36m in 2018
13=. Douglas Costa – Bayern Munich to Juventus – £36m in 2018
13=. Paulo Dybala – Palermo to Juventus – £36m in 2018
13=. Federico Bernardeschi – Fiorentina to Juventus – £36m in 2017
13=. Joao Mario – Sporting Lisbon to Inter Milan – £36m in 2016
17. Gonzalo Higuain – Real Madrid to Napoli – £35.1m in 2013
18. Lucas Paqueta – Flamengo to AC Milan – £34.56m in 2018
19=. Radja Nainggolan – Roma to Inter Milan – £34.2m in 2018
19=. Hirving Lozano – PS Eindhoven to Napoli – £34.2m in 2019
19=. Andre Silva – Porto to AC Milan – £34.2m in 2017
Serie A Transfer Records
Much like other major leagues around Europe, transfer fees in Serie A were relatively small during the early part of the 20th century.
However, from the 1950s onwards Italy’s top clubs repeatedly set new world records for player purchases over the following 40 years.
A notable landmark came in 1975, when Giuseppe Savoldi became the world’s first £1m player when he joined Napoli from Bologna.
The transfer beat the previous record of £922,000 set by Johan Cruyff when he left Ajax to sign for Barcelona two years earlier.
Things moved on apace over the next two decades, with transfers involving the likes of Maradona, Roberto Baggio and Gianluca Vialli sending the Italian record fee spiralling.
Inter Milan took things up another notch in 1997, shelling out £25.2m to secure the services of Ronaldo (the original one) from Barcelona.
Hernan Crespo’s move from Parma to Lazio kicked-off the new millennium by sending the record through the £50m mark, but it was another 16 years before that was broken.
Juventus spent £81m to purchase Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in 2016 and they went on to crack the £100m barrier when they bought Ronaldo (the second version) in 2018.
Another nine-figure transfer in Serie A isn’t beyond the realms of possibility in the future, particularly with fees across the world continuing to rise.
Read More: Most Expensive Transfers in World Football.