The summer transfer window is open and there has been a lot of movement not so much big money transfers though. The fees paid by clubs in the English premier league in this summer transfer window is averaging 25 million Euros per club showing the effect of the global pandemic. Today I want to focus on the Italian big league, the Serie A which in the 80s and 90s started the big money spending trend when the television money started flowing in the game of soccer. The league has been somewhat in a decline. Not a decline in terms of quality of soccer but in financial terms. Some blockbuster signings have been made by clubs from Italy. I will focus not on the big money moves but also the quality of players that made the moves to what in my opinion still is one of the top two leagues in the world. Let’s start with a glamour signing in the late 80s that started a golden era at the Giuseppe Meazza.

5.RUUD GULLIT(PSV TO AC MILAN GBP6Million 1987/1988)

Silvio Berlusconi has no reputation for being a cheapskate that’s for damn sure. Back in the summer of 87 he as Chairman of AC Milan took out his famous wallet(ladies in Italy can testify) to lure Ruud Gullit to the San Siro for a then record fee. He was young and skillful MIDFIELDER who was also captain of his national side. His arrival for his unveiling caused the whole city of Milan to come to a standstill and rightly so too. Not only did that transfer signify a beginning of a triumphant era in Milan history, the following summer he would lead his country to their one and only trophy in their history at 25 years of age. He would link up in Milan with fellow Dutchman Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard the Dutch “holy” trinity. His versatility was unmatched in line with the Dutch philosophy of total football. He was a libero at one point and he played striker too.

4.RONALDO(FC BARCELONA TO INTERNAZIONALE GBP19.5 Million 1997/1998)

El Fenomeno took the world by storm in 1996/1997 by smashing 47 goals in just 50 games for the Catalans. Combining fierce pace and unbridled skill, he left defenders in his wake even embarrassing one or two along the way. Legend has it that Ronaldo had agreed to sign a brand new long term deal at Camp Nou and was happy to stay. His agents however had other ideas and secretly brokered a deal to take him to the San Siro. This move in my opinion was more about money than soccer but hey Serie A was made ever that great by the move. At Inter he would go on to win the UEFA Cup the following summer and scored one of the most memorable goals in that final. It was not a very successful era though for the Nerrazzurri who failed to win the Champions League in the time the Brazilian was there. Injuries also hampered Ronaldo’s progression at the Giuseppe Meazza. But certainly this was the greatest transfer that Massimo Morratti ever presided over at Inter.

3.CHRISTIANO RONALDO(REAL MADRID TO JUVENTUS GBP105Million 2018/2019)

This fellow needs very little introduction to the younger soccer fans. Bursting onto the world stage at Manchester United after impressing in a pre season match for Sporting Club of Portugal, he would develop into a Ballon D’or winning player under Sir Alex Ferguson. He would enjoy more success at the Santiago Bernabeu which leads us to this move here. It is said the departure of coach Zidane after winning the UCL in 2018 against Liverpool prompted his move to Turin. Some say he had nothing to prove anymore in La Liga having won everything there is to win there so he looked for new challenges elsewhere. Enter Juventus ,who were looking to a near 25 year wait for a UCL trophy , to make a huge bid for the Portuguese star. We all know Christiano can pay back that GBP105 million fee in a second by his shirt sales and his brand alone can treble that in value. His time at the Juventus Stadium may be coming to an end but it has not been a successful one by his lofty standards. Serie A titles have been won but the BIG ONE still eludes the old lady.

2.CHRISTIAN VIERI(LAZIO TO INTERNAZIONALE GBP28 Million 1998/1999)

Christian Vieri was a dying breed of orthodox striker who had one thing on his mind when he took to the pitch, to score as many goals as humanly possible and make defenders pay. He was signed to complement Ronaldo but ended up being better in my opinion to the Brazilian at Inter. The striker had Australian roots having been raised down under so could have chosen to represent them at international level. Thankfully for the Azzurri that didn’t happen. The move from Lazio to Inter was a then world record transfer fee for a player. It involved one Diego Simeone(now coach of Atletico Madrid) moving the opposite direction. You can imagine if the deal involved only Vieri how much Inter would have forked out to make it happen. Certainly the financial fair play police would have been interested in the finer details. Vieri’s highlight reel above there includes an assortment of goals but his heading ability was exceptional.

1.DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA(FC BARCELONA TO NAPOLI GBP5 Million 1984/1985)

The most famous soccer player of all time without a shadow of a doubt. His time at the Camp Nou was marred by controversy and he carried that to Serie A. The fist fights on the pitch and off field cold war with reporters prompted the Argentine to make a beeline to Italy to seek “peace” in his own words. Napoli were not one of Italy’s traditional fashionable sides but they paid a then world record fee to have Diego join them in 1984. Let’s put it into context. Napoli had not won a scudetto in their whole existence until he arrived and won it in 1989/1990. A crowd of 85 000 crammed into the San Paulo(Now named after him) to welcome him to Naples. Maradona is one of a few players whose good stuff on the field overshadows what he did bad outside of it. He can be described as a very hard player to mark with his low center of gravity. Yes he failed a drug test in 1991 and 1994 but drugs have nothing to do with ability. Sadly no European Cup for the legendary forward, who knows in another era he may have been a galactico at Real Madrid in 2002 or a winner with Barcelona in 1992 had he stayed there.