1 of 10Victor Carretero/Real Madrid via Getty Images
Real Madrid shocked the footballing world when it pried the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year from Manchester United for the most staggering transfer fee ever paid. The Portuguese winger is the marquee acquisition as Real is remaking itself into a high-priced, superstar-heavy squad. Here are the other most expensive transfers in soccer history in terms of today's dollars.
2 of 10Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Newly elected Florentino Pérez -- the architect of Real Madrid's first "Galáctico" days -- got the man he coveted in his successful bid to regain the club presidency: yet another former FIFA World Player of the Year in the Brazilian maestro. Kaká rejected an even more lucrative move to Manchester City in January, but was happy to move to Madrid, the only club for which he claimed he'd ever leave AC Milan.
3 of 10AP
Another World Player of the Year, another record transfer at the time. Real Madrid began building its first "Galáctico" empire by snatching the French genius from Juventus of Italy. That season he guided Real to its ninth Champions League title (scoring on a dazzling volley in the final) and won his third Player of the Year award the following campaign.
4 of 10Phil Cole/Getty Images
The Ukrainian goal machine long had been admired by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and, in the summer of '06, the Russian billionaire finally anted up so much money that AC Milan couldn't say no. But Sheva never really fit at Stamford Bridge, and was loaned back to Milan two years later.
5 of 10Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Most had expected the dribbling magician to make a move to Chelsea, where he'd be reunited with former Brazilian national-team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. But flush with oil money from its new Arab owners, Manchester City made Robinho the most surprising transfer of the summer with a huge fee Real Madrid couldn't refuse.
6 of 10AP
The Portuguese winger committed what was, in many fans' eyes, the cardinal sin: switching from Barcelona to hated archrival Real Madrid. Barça fans turned against him in his first game back at the Camp Nou, pelting him with obscenities and thrown objects -- including a pig's head.
7 of 10John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images
The Bulgarian striker had emerged as a star for Tottenham Hotspur, and made no bones about his desire to play for a bigger club. As rumors of Manchester United's interest increased, so did Berbatov's unrest and moodiness. Finally, as the transfer window was coming to a close, Sir Alex Ferguson (left) made his move and brought the high-scoring forward to Old Trafford.
8 of 10Grazia Neri/Allsport
Roman club Lazio broke the bank for the Argentine, paying Parma what was then a record transfer, plus two surplus players, in order to land one of the top scorers in Italy's Serie A. Crespo lasted two seasons at the Stadio Olimpico before graduating to an even bigger club: Inter Milan, as a replacement for recently sold Brazilian goal machine Ronaldo.
9 of 10Claudio Villa/Allsport
Newly installed Inter Milan coach Marcello Lippi longed for the Australian-raised Italian international, whom he coached for a season while both were at Juventus. Inter made "Bobo" the most expensive transfer at the time, and the prospect of pairing him up top with Ronaldo was mouth-watering -- but the injury-prone strikers rarely shared minutes on the pitch.
10 of 10Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
The 21-year-old French striker is the latest in Real Madrid's offseason spending spree. Over the past two seasons, Benzema became a star at Lyon and emerged as one of the most promising young talents in the world. He'll be lined up in a downright scary new attack that also features Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká.
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