James Rodriguez joins Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in £229m strike-force - but which European teams have the most expensive attacks?
Rodriguez, Ronaldo and Bale have cost Real Madrid a combined £229m, more than any other club have spent on their three main attacking threats over the years
Colombia international and World Cup star James Rodriguez completed his £63m transfer to Real Madrid on Tuesday, becoming the third mega-signing to head to the Spanish capital to follow in the boots of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
The three signings combined brings together the most expensive attack ever seen in world football, and to put it into perspective their total price of £229m is more than former European champions Ajax have spent in their club history.
Real fans can look forward to seeing the three in action next season, although how Carlo Ancelotti will line them up in the same side remains to be seen. They will battle the likes of Barcelona and reigning champions Atletico Madrid for the La Liga title, while also attempting to defend the Champions League crown that they won for an unrivalled 10th time in their career last season.
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Here, we look at the other leading attacks in world football, and how their combined prices add up to Real's.
Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo (£80m), Gareth Bale (£86m), James Rodriguez (£63m) = £229m
The most expensive strike force ever assembled includes the former and current most expensive signing of all-time. Ronaldo's move from Manchester United was the highest fee ever paid when he moved in 2009 but that was broken last summer with the signing of Bale from Tottenham. Rodriguez is the fourth most expensive player ever - coming in from Monaco following his impressive displays at the World Cup.
Barcelona – Luis Suarez (£75m), Lionel Messi (£0m), Neymar (£71.5m) = £146.5m
Suarez became the third most expensive signing in history when he completed his move from Liverpool. He was just a few million more than Neymar whose switch from Santos became embroiled in tax issues. Messi - the four-time winner of the Ballon d'Or would probably command the highest ever fee but because he joined Barcelona at the age of 13 he cost them nothing.
Chelsea – Diego Costa (£32m) Fernando Torres (£50m) Eden Hazard (£32m) = £114m
Big-spending Chelsea have the third most expensive attack in the world following the signing of Costa, as they had to activate his release clause in order to land their chief transfer target for the summer. While the long-winded pursuit of Hazard appears to be a good piece of business, the same can’t be said of the addition of Torres, whose £50m transfer will go down as one of the worst pieces of business in the history of the club.
Cavani remains the most expensive transfer to join the Ligue 1 Paris Saint Germain – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£16m), Edinson Cavani (£55m), Ezequiel Lavezzi (£21m) = £92m
When PSG were taken over by the Qatar Sports Investments, they suddenly saw themselves shoot to the top as they became one of the biggest financial powerhouses in club football. The additions of an aging Ibrahimovic and a French record move for Cavani saw them become serious contenders for the Champions League, while they also added Cavani's Napoli team-mate Lavezzi for a hefty £21m.
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Arsenal – Mesut Ozil (£42.5m), Alexis Sanchez (£35m), Olivier Giroud (£9.6m) = £87.1m
The most expensive forward line in the Premier League has been assembled under Arsene Wenger. Sanchez was signed from Barcelona earlier this summer, Ozil arrived as the club's record signing 12 months ago and Giroud, the Gunners' main centre forward joined from Montpellier the year before that.
Manchester City – Sergio Aguero (£38m), Alvaro Negredo (£16.4m), David Silva (£30m) = £84.4m
The Premier League champions also have Eden Dzeko (£27m) and Stevan Jovetic (£22m) in their ranks but the cheap Negredo gets in based on appearances last term. The Spain international joined from Sevilla last summer. Aguero's £38m fee looks a bargain thanks to the number and importance of many of his goals, none more so than the injury time strike that won City the league during the 2011/12 season. Silva arrived from Valencia in 2010.
Manchester United – Robin van Persie (£24m), Wayne Rooney (£25.6m), Juan Mata (£37.1m) = £79.7m
Manchester United broke their own transfer record to bring Mata to the club from Chelsea last January. He takes his place behind Rooney who joined from Everton as a teenager in 2004. Van Persie would probably have commanded a higher fee had he not been entering the last year of his contract at Arsenal.
Juan Mata is United's most expensive ever signing Tottenham – Emmanuel Adebayor (£5m), Erik Lamela (£30.1m), Christian Eriksen (£11m) = £46.1m
The club record move for Lamela has so far proven to be a huge failure, but the Argentinian is still young enough to fulfil his promise and pay back the investment that Spurs put in him last summer. Adebayor has proven to be an efficient addition, as the striker returned to form once Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane, and Eriksen showed enough in his first season to suggest he has the capabilities to go on and become a leading No 10 in the Premier League.
Liverpool – Daniel Sturridge (£12m), Lazar Markovic (£20m), Philippe Coutinho (£8.5m) = £40.5m
Brendan Rodgers has a fantastic strike force at his disposal (even without Suarez) but did so without the astronomical price-tag. The signings of Sturridge during the 2013 January window were fantastic business but cost the club just £20.5m. How the transfer of Markovic, signed this summer for a similar amount of money, turns out is yet to be seen.
Borussia Dortmund – Ciro Immobile (£16m), Marco Reus (£13.5m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11m) = £40.5m
New signing Immobile will have the difficult task of replacing Lewandowski at Dortmund after the Bundesliga side signed him on from co-owners Juventus and Torino. He joins established pair Reus and Aubameyang, whose pace has terrorised opposition defences over the past season. The move for Reus was strange in that Dortmund let him go early in his career, only to sign him for a second time from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Bayern Munich – Robert Lewandowski (£0), Arjen Robben (£20m), Franck Ribery (£20) = £40m
Bayern rose to the top of the game last season with Robben and Ribery at the forefront. While that may not surprise you, the fact that they cost significantly less combined than most world class players will set a club back today demonstrates just how much of a deal the Bavarians got for the pair. When you add the summer signing of Lewandowski on a free transfer, it’s easy to see why the club draw so much praise for the way they are run financially.
Robert Lewandowski has been unveiled at Bayern Munich this summer AC Milan – Mario Balotelli (£16m), Robinho (£15m), Keisuke Honda (£0) = £31m
The Manchester City graveyard. OK, so that’s a very harsh way to describe a club with the calibre that AC Milan have, but it certainly seems like it as both Balotelli and Robinho were signed from the Premier League side for similar fees. Both could leave the club this season, although Honda looks likely to stay at the club he joined on a free transfer in January, though he will want to improve on his return of a single Serie A goal.
Juventus – Carlos Tevez (£12m), Alvaro Morata (£15.8m), Fernando Llorente (£0) = £27.8m
Juventus have gone about regaining their crown at the top of Italian football with relative ease after being relegated not so long ago, and the signing of Tevez showed how far they had come when they landed the Argentinian striker from Manchester City. While Llorente was snapped up on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao, the Old Lady managed to sway Spanish forward Morata to Italy to fend of interest from the likes of Arsenal and Spurs. With the 21-year-old tipped for big things, it could well prove to be a prudent investment, although Real Madrid do have a buy-back clause in his contract.
Atletico Madrid – Mario Mandzukic (£22m), Leo Baptistao (£4m), Koke (£0) = £26m
The club so often raided by the bigger teams in Europe finally broke the mould and beat Real Madrid and Barcelona to the Spanish league title. So what happens? Chelsea come a knocking and take Diego Costa and Filipe Luis for large sums of money. Diego Simeone responded by beating a number of clubs to the signing of Mandzukic from Bayern, while home-grown talent Koke is likely to earn them a huge fee should he leave the club – and guide them to further success if he stays. But such is the turnover rate of Atletico strikers that 21-year-old Leo Baptistao is the next option to play in attack.
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