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Real Madrid most expensive player sales - How Real Madrid made over €1.4 billion in outgoing transfers

13:00 BST 06/09/2022
Transfer gurus Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo Casemiro
Real Madrid are not just big spenders, but have made some shrewd sales as well this century

It is not often that we look at Real Madrid as a club and realise how incredibly efficient the club's transfer sales strategy has proven to be.

They have not only earned a reputation when it comes to making record-breaking big signings, but they have also ensured they sold some high-profile players at eye-watering premiums.

In recent years, Madrid have invested their resources in signing youngsters for the future rather than already established stars and in their quest to do so, they have let go of some of their greatest-ever players.

A risky strategy perhaps, but one that has paid off as the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo for example not only saw Karim Benzema step up his game, but also allowed Vinicius Jr. to flourish.

The Portugal star is by no means the only player to have left Madrid for a big fee, though!

Real Madrid most expensive sales by season


Biggest sale


Total sales






Raphael Varane




Achraf Hakimi




Mateo Kovacic




Cristiano Ronaldo




Alvaro Morata








Asier Illarramendi




Angel Di Maria




Mesut Ozil




Esteban Granero




Ezequiel Garay




Rafael van der Vaart




Arjen Robben
















Michael Owen




Fernando Morientes




Claude Makelele












Nicolas Anelka





*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise.

Real Madrid top 10 most expensive player sales

  • Gonzalo Higuain

    #10 Gonzalo Higuain | €39 million/£35.10 million | SSC Napoli | 2013

    Gonzalo Higuain was one of the greatest strikers of his generation in his prime.

    After joining Real Madrid from River Plate for €12 million (£10.80 million) as a teenager, Higuain was initially used as a rotation option in the first team.

    However, he went on to establish himself as the number one striker for Los Blancos when he netted 22 goals in La Liga in the 2008/09 season.

    Higuain then scored 27 goals the following season despite his tender age.

    But after Karim Benzema's arrival from Lyon in 2009, Higuain saw his minutes on the pitch limited and the striker was eventually sold in the summer of 2013 to Napoli for €39m (£35.10m).

  • Raphael Varane Man Utd 2021-22

    #9 Raphael Varane | €40 million/£36 million | Manchester United | 2021

    One of the most successful footballers in history in terms of trophies won, Raphael Varane was a key figure for Real Madrid as they filled up their trophy cabinet in the last decade.

    However, the year 2021 led to the end of an era at Madrid as they let go of two of their most influential defenders in Varane and Sergio Ramos.

    The Frenchman's contract in Madrid was set to expire in 2021 and Manchester United came calling for €40 million (£36m).

    Real Madrid took this opportunity and made Varane one of their most expensive sales in history.

  • Robinho Manchester City 2008

    #8 Robinho | €43 million/£38.70 million | Manchester City | 2008

    Robinho was part of the Brazilian revolution that took place at Real Madrid in the early 2000s.

    The creative winger was in much demand throughout Europe due to his skill on the ball and the ease with which he cut past defenders in La Liga.

    His performances caught the eye of Manchester City, who were just beginning a new era under fresh ownership from the Middle East and were ready to pay a premium fee for the superstar.

    City made Robinho their most expensive signing in history at that time, forking out €43 million (£38.70 million) for his services.

    Robinho lasted only two years in Manchester, eventually being loaned to AC Milan.

  • GFX Achraf Hakimi Real Madrid

    #7 Achraf Hakimi | €43 million/£38.70 million | Inter | 2020

    Real Madrid chose to loan Hakimi for two seasons to Borussia Dortmund in 2018 after he came through the club's youth academy and the Morocco international ended up being one of the best performing players in Germany during that time.

    His performances impressed Inter, who tabled a bid of €43 million (£38.70 million) for the right-back in the summer of 2020, which Madrid happily accepted.

    Hakimi grew in stature at Inter and was one of the leaders in their squad, even if he only featured for them for one season.

    The Italians had to urgently sort out their finances, which led them to part ways with Hakimi when Paris Saint-Germain splashed the cash to secure his services in the summer of 2021.

  • Mateo Kovacic Real Madrid 09052018

    #6 Mateo Kovacic | €45 million/£40.50 million | Chelsea | 2019

    Kovacic moved to Real Madrid from Inter for a €38 million (£34.2 million) fee back in the summer of 2015.

    After spending three difficult seasons at the club trying to find a place in Madrid's midfield, with his competitors being the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro, Kovacic accepted his fate and made a loan move to Chelsea in the summer of 2018.

    After a successful temporary spell with the Blues, Chelsea paid €45m (£40.50m) in order to permanently secure his services in the 2019 summer transfer window.

    Kovacic has since gone on to win his fourth Champions League crown, adding to the three he won with Madrid.

  • Mesut Ozil Real Madrid

    #5 Mesut Ozil | €47 million/£42.30 million | Arsenal | 2013

    Mesut Ozil was sold to Arsenal in the summer of 2013, a decision that shocked Real Madrid players, with Cristiano Ronaldo famously stating he was angry about the Germany star leaving because "he was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal."

    Ozil burst on to the global stage at the 2010 World Cup, catching the eye of Madrid with some stellar displays and they wasted no time in signing him for €18 million (£16.2 million) that same summer.

    The midfield maestro scored 19 and assisted 47 goals in his three seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu before they cashed in on him for €47m (£42.30m) when Arsenal came calling.

  • Alvaro Morata Real Madrid Celta La Liga

    #4 Alvaro Morata | €66 million/£59.40 million | Chelsea | 2017

    Perhaps one of the most overpriced transfer sagas saw Alvaro Morata being sold to Chelsea for €66 million (£59.40 million) back in 2017.

    Morata came into the 2017-18 season on the back of a hugely successful campaign on loan at Juventus.

    His goalscoring exploits saw Manchester United compete with Chelsea for his signature, with the Blues paying an extraordinary fee for his signature.

    The Spain international failed to live up to the high expectations at Stamford Bridge, though, and was moved on again in January 2019 when Atletico Madrid took him on board.

  • Casemiro Real Madrid Super Cup 2022

    #3 Casemiro | €70.65 million/£63.59 million | Manchester United | 2022

    Casemiro arrived as a youngster from Sao Paolo back in 2013 for a poultry fee of just €6 million (£5.40 million).

    In the years to follow, the Brazilian went on to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the world, winning numerous accolades during his time at the club.

    But when the time came, Madrid sold him at humongous profit to Manchester United in the 2022 summer transfer window, having already strengthened their own midfield with Aurelien Tchouameni previously.

    Casemiro fetched Madrid €70.65m (£63.59) as he became their third-most expensive sale in history.

  • Angel Di Maria Real Madrid

    #2 Angel Di Maria | €75 million/£67.50 million | Manchester United | 2014

    After delivering a man-of-the-match performance in the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League final for Real Madrid, Argentine winger Angel Di Maria was sold to Manchester United in the following summer for €75 million (£67.50 million).

    Di Maria was one of Madrid's best performing players during his four seasons at the club, but when Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu after the 2014 World Cup, the club decided to sell him for a massive profit from the €33 million (£29.70m) they signed him for in 2010.

  • Rambut Cristiano Ronaldo 2014

    #1 Cristiano Ronaldo | €117 million/£105.30 million | Juventus | 2018

    Real Madrid's third-most valuable signing in history, Cristiano Ronaldo, became their most expensive sale when Juventus came calling in 2018.

    Ronaldo was desperate for a new challenge after more or less winning every available trophy during. histime at Madrid and opted to start a new chapter in his career in Italy.

    The Portuguese superstar won four Ballon d'Or crowns during his time in Spain and also scored 101 Champions League goals for Real Madrid, the most by any player for any one club.

    Ronaldo's achievement at the Santiago Bernabeu may never be surpassed, but it was an absolutely incredible piece of business for Madrid to sell him at a profit to Juventus for €117 million (£105.30 million), nine years after signing him for a then world-record fee from Manchester United.