The 10 most expensive signings in LaLiga history, including massive Real Madrid, Barcelona deals

Philippe Coutinho, Jude Bellingham, Joao Felix and Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all made €100m+ signings before

LaLiga’s high-end transfer business has two clubs at its heart and the big-money buys made by Real Madrid and Barcelona have been some of the most expensive in all of football.

Real Madrid may have started the arms race in assembling their original Galacticos, but Barcelona have not been shy about exorbitant and wasteful spending.

Here TEAMtalk breaks down the 10 most expensive signings in LaLiga history.

10. Frenkie De Jong to Barcelona (€86m – July 2019)

Ajax cashed in on the potential of Frenkie De Jong when Barcelona came knocking in 2019 and their sale of the midfielder netted them an €86m payday.

De Jong has been criticised for being anonymous in Barcelona and Netherlands teams packed with dynamic stars.

His 2023/24 season was marred by his worst run of injuries in his time in LaLiga with De Jong missing 21 matches through two ankle injuries.

9. Neymar to Barcelona (€88m – July 2013)

Barcelona were fixated on bringing Neymar to LaLiga for some time before they made his €88m move from Santos happen.

There is little in the way of fresh analysis of Neymar’s time at Barcelona which divides fans but the club would also net an almighty profit from his 2017 sale to PSG, the most expensive in history.

Spanish prosecutors brought a fraud cause before courts over this transfer but Neymar, his father, the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues were all found not guilty following a trial in 2022.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid (€94m – July 2009)

Real Madrid certainly won’t regret spending €94m to capture Cristiano Ronaldo at the height of his not inconsiderable powers.

That Real were able to recover that fee and a little bit more when he moved to Juventus would add a sheen to the piece of business.

Ronaldo’s time at Real Madrid was iconic beyond question and his brand value to Real Madrid was enough to easily offset his transfer fee.

7. Gareth Bale to Real Madrid (€101m – September 2013)

Four years after the Ronaldo splurge, Real Madrid raided the Premier League for one of its foremost stars in Gareth Bale.

Bale wasn’t quite the success Ronaldo was but even with a €101m price tag he shouldn’t be considered a flop.

His career at Real Madrid was defined more by brilliant moments rather than sustained performances.

6. Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid (€103m – July 2023)

Jude Bellingham‘s road less travelled has seen him end up at the Santiago Bernabeau after commanding a €103m fee to spring him from Borussia Dortmund with five per cent of that payment going to Birmingham City who retained a sell-on clause on the young star.

Bellingham has become a Real Madrid fan favourite and a key player for the champions of Spain and Europe

Were he to depart Real Madrid in the near future, Bellingham could well pocket Real Madrid a world record fee as he currently shares the status of world’s most valuable player with Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

 5. Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona (€120m – July 2019)

Antoine Griezmann’s transfer to Barcelona stands out as a fairly big misstep by the Spanish heavyweights as they paid €120m for a player who never truly endeared himself to Barca fans.

Griezmann would soon attempt and succeed in engineering a move back to Atletico Madrid who were the big winners in the protracted transfer saga.

Four years after joining Barcelona for €120m, Griezmann rejoined Atletico Madrid for €22m.

4. Eden Hazard to Real Madrid (€120.8m – July 2019)

In 2019, Real Madrid also splashed the cash for a forward who would deliver mixed results and didn’t live up to his extravagant fee.

Even then Real had to be aware that they were taking a big risk spending €120.8m for Eden Hazard who had more than earned the label of mercurial.

Hazard wouldn’t play 20 matches in a single one of his four LaLiga campaigns, eventually turning out in just 72 league matches for Real Madrid across his stint in the Spanish Capital.

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3. Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid (€127.2m – July 2019)

Joao Felix was something of a fixation for Atletico Madrid to the point that they were prepared to pay their record fee of €127.2m to secure his services as a 19-year-old.

Felix was initially integrated into the Atletico team and looked a great signing but a falling out with coach Diego Simeone has seen him shipped out on loans to Chelsea and Barcelona.

Simeone and Felix’s falling out was put down to the Portuguese winger’s desire to play more attacking football.

=1. Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona (€135m – August 2017)

Barcelona’s 2017/18 spending was fuelled by their sale of Neymar but still serves as a cautionary tale for clubs who have recently received an incredible windfall.

Barca spent €270m on two players who jointly hold the LaLiga record for most expensive player brought in by a team in the Spanish top-flight.

Ousmane Dembele came with plenty of hype but was never really a chosen member of Barcelona’s ideal front three and his €135m price tag can’t really be viewed as anything but a mistake.

=1. Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona (€135m – January 2018)

Phillipe Coutinho joined Barcelona in January 2018 after an impressive but arguably tapering off spell at Liverpool for the extraordinary fee of €135m.

Coutinho couldn’t nail down a Barcelona place and 18 months later was being loaned out to Bayern Munich and though he would return to the Camp Nou for another two seasons, he became a bit part player.

He returned to the Premier League when Aston Villa made a loan move for the Brazilian star permanent in 2022 with a €20m fee that made it clear how far his stock had fallen.

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