WITH THE transfer window now open in many of the world’s top soccer leagues, the CIES Football Observatory has released its semi-annual list of the most valuable football players in the world. As per the research group—which falls within the International Centre for Sports Studies, a private foundation affiliated to the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland—Lionel Messi of Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga tops the list with a staggering transfer value of 251 million euros. Nobody else is even close.
The valuation is based on an econometric model created by the CIES Football Observatory research team from the analysis of over 1,500 paying fee transfers that have occurred since 2010. The criteria taken into account refer to both the performance and personal characteristics of players (age, position, contract duration, etc), as well as to the competition level and results of their employer club and national team represented (if any).
The estimated transfer value of Messi is 17 million euros below that of last June. This is mainly due to the fact that the Argentinean prodigy, who will turn 29 years old next June, has entered the final phase of his career. Despite outstanding performance levels and transfer cost inflation, his value probably already reached a peak.
Contrary to Messi’s transfer value, that of Neymar has heavily increased since June 2015—from 94 million euros to 152.7 million euros. In 2015, the 23-year-old Brazilian scored 25 goals in 34 appearances in the Spanish Liga, as well as nine goals in 12 matches at Champions League level. A further increase in Neymar’s transfer value will depend on the outcome of negotiations concerning his contract at Barcelona, which currently runs until 2018.
The third-highest transfer value recorded was for Eden Hazard. Like Messi, the value of the Belgian star decreased since June 2015—from 142 million euros to 130.5 million euros. This is mainly due to the poor performances of Chelsea during the first semester of the current season. Hazard himself did not perform at his best. However, the attacking midfielder, recently also fielded as a forward, is still a sure bet of world football.
In the fourth position is Cristiano Ronaldo. The transfer value of the Portuguese went also slightly down since last June—from 119 million euros to 114 million euros. This is mainly due to the age factor. Real Madrid’s striker is set to turn 31 years old next February. With Spanish player Santi Cazorla, Ronaldo is the only player aged 30 years or over in the top 100 ranking. This reflects his outstanding talent and performances.
With a transfer value of 91.3 million euros, the fifth-most valuable player is Harry Kane. His value is about 35 million euros more than in June 2015. During the first months of the current season, the 22-year-old striker confirmed his extraordinary skills. Moreover, the good results achieved by his employer club, Tottenham, contributed to the increase in value. With the same performances on an individual level and Champions League qualification, Kane’s value will probably reach the 100-million-euro mark at the end of the season.
From the sixth to 10th positions are other top-class attacking players: Raheem Sterling, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suárez, Sergio Agüero and Alexis Sánchez.
The top 10
Lionel Messi, Barcelona (Spain): 250.7 million euros
Neymar, Barcelona (Spain): 152.7 million euros
Eden Hazard, Chelsea (England): 130.5 million euros
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid (Spain): 114 million euros
Harry Kane, Tottenham (England): 91.3 million euros
Raheem Sterling, Manchester City (England): 89.8 million euros
Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid (Spain): 88.3 million euros
Luis Suárez, Barcelona (Spain): 86.3 million euros
Sergio Agüero, Manchester City (England): 82.1 million euros
Alexis Sánchez, Arsenal (England): 81.9 million euros