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Top 10 most expensive transfers of all time ranked as Moises Caicedo enters list



Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo has ended a summer of speculation by sealing his switch to Chelsea from Brighton for a new British record transfer fee of £115m

At just 21, the Ecuadorian midfielder has already entered the record books following his £115m move from Brighton to Chelsea. Opting to head to Stamford Bridge after turning down Liverpool, it means the man who only a year ago was playing on loan at Belgian side Beerschot now holds the British transfer record.

And the fee involved also catapults him into the list of the top 10 most expensive footballers of all time, bumping Paul Pogba down to No.11. Now the question remains as to whether Chelsea’s new star will live up to the billing having been instrumental in Brighton qualifying for Europe last season.

Mirror Football has reflected on the 10 most expensive transfers of all time prior to Caicedo’s move. And we rank those who were worth the money, along with those who definitely weren’t….

Moises Caicedo explains £115m Chelsea transfer after snubbing Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp

1: Neymar £198m (Barcelona to PSG, 2017)
Six years on from the transfer that shook for the world, Neymar leaves for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia without a Ballon D’or to his name or a Champions League title with the Parisians.

There was 118 club goals, numerous moments of brilliance, five Ligue 1 titles and three Coupe de France wins – but the man charged with elevating PSG to the European glory they craved ultimately fell short of his task. It’s a brutal standard to hold him to, but then £198m is brutal money.

2: Kylian Mbappe £163m (Monaco to PSG, 2018)
A total of 212 goals in 260 games is a staggering ratio regardless of the domestic dominance of the team you’re in.

Mbappe’s star has undoubtedly shone brighter since he made his own move to Paris, but like Neymar, you sense that if there is no Champions League winners medal in their grasp by the time he inevitably heads to Real Madrid, the jigsaw will remain incomplete. On the field, Mbappe has been worth the money, but the current power struggles and transfer sagas off it could yet see him walk away a villain.

3: Philippe Coutinho £138m (Liverpool to Barcelona, 2018)
Philippe Coutinho winning three league titles and a Champions League after leaving Liverpool suggests a man who lit up the Nou Camp alongside Lionel Messi and co.

In truth, he spent one-and-a-half underwhelming years in Spain before tasting European glory on loan at Bayern Munich, returned to Barca but failed to hold down a first team place, and was eventually shipped off to Aston Villa for £17million. The Brazilian who wowed so regularly in red may argue the medals were worth the move – but that would mask the reality of a precocious talent who saw his career stall.

4: Ousmane Dembele £127m (Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona, 2017)
If a loss of form plagued Coutinho at Barcelona, then it was injury woes that did for Ousmane Dembele.

The amount of add-ons that came with the initial fee for the Frenchman underlined how the Spanish giants saw him as a star of the future, but during his six years in LaLiga, only once did he hit the 30-game mark in a league season.

He’s now joined PSG on a £43m deal, and like Coutinho, has represented a huge net loss for the Spanish giants. At 26, Dembele still has time to prove his place among the elite, as he often did in flashes in Spain, but steering clear of the treatment table will be critical.

5: Jude Bellingham £115m (Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid, 2023)
In this era of a madly inflated market, an initial £88.5m fee potentially rising to £115m represents a good price for a player with the limitless potential of Bellingham.

The early signs are good, with the England star impressing – and scoring – on his LaLiga debut at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. To say there is a long way to go for him at the Bernabau would be a ludicrous understatement, but this is one extortionate deal that may just end up being worth every penny for Real.

6: Joao Felix £106m (Benfica to Atletico Madrid, 2019)
The 2023/24 campaign could be a defining one in the career of potentially mercurial Joao Felix.

He was 19 when he joined Atletico in a deal that made him the second most expensive teenager in history, behind Mbappe. Injury issues hampered his first two seasons before his apparent breakthrough, winning the club’s player of the year award in 2021/22. But a subsequent fallout with Diego Simeone saw him sent to Chelsea on loan last January.

The Blues have opted not to pursue a permanent move, with Felix now fighting to get back in favour under Simeone. In order to justify the fee, he needs to.

7: Enzo Fernandez £104m (Benfica to Chelsea, 2023)
One performance doesn’t make a player, especially one that cost £104 million.

But the display of Enzo Fernandez against Liverpool on Sunday was enough to excite fans that Mauricio Pochettino has the playmaker he needs to bring success back to Stamford Bridge. And the 2022 World Cup winner will soon be complimented in the middle by having Caicedo alongside him, a partnership which oozes promise.

Fernandez has shown enough to suggest he can be a long-term Premier League star. And just as well, he’s tied down to Chelsea for eight-and-a-half-years after all.

8: Antoine Griezmann £103m (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona, 2019)
There are two schools of thought over Antoine Griezmann’s spell at Barcelona.

Some viewed him as a flop whose fee unnecessarily contributed to Barca’s current financial woes before he was sent packing back to Atletico. Others argued that often deployed out of position, his displays merited far more credit that the merciless Spanish media were prepared to give him.

Griezmann is now back at Atletico for a relatively paltry £17m fee. Regardless of mitigating factors, it was stint that represented another financial disaster for Barca. There’s a theme developing here.

9: Jack Grealish £100m (Aston Villa to Manchester City, 2021)
If we were rating this move 12 months ago, the analysis would have fallen short of complimentary.

Fast forward a year, and the player who underwhelmed in his first season at the Etihad has since played a pivotal role in their 2022/23 treble. Work rate, creativity, threat – the 27-year-old now looks the player that Guardiola envisaged him being when he sanctioned the eye-watering fee to get him from Aston Villa.

The challenge for Grealish now, is to maintain standards. Should he do so, the extortionate fee will soon be forgotten.

10: Romelu Lukaku £97m (Inter Milan to Chelsea, 2021)
He scored just eight Premier League goals in his first season, was sent back to Inter Milan on loan as Chelsea played a season without a recognised striker, and then the Blues rejected the chance to have him back.


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Messi’s famous Barcelona napkin auction opens in London



Lionel Mess

The auction for the napkin which famously launched Lionel Messi’s Barcelona career as a 13-year-old opened this week with a guide price of £300,000-£500,000 ($374,700-$624,500).

Bidding for the item stands at £220,000 and will be open with the British auction house Bonhams until May 17.

The sale was originally slated for for March but was postponed due to a dispute over the ownership of the napkin, which has been in the hands of Horacio Gaggioli, an Argentine agent, for the last two decades.

Josep Minguella, another advisor involved in the deal to bring Messi over from Argentina, claimed possession of the napkin following the news it would be auctioned earlier this year.

Gaggioli disputed this, while Bonhams told ESPN there were “no problems” regarding the sale of the napkin, which is listed on their website as “property of Horacio Gaggioli.”

The auction for the napkin has opened after a dispute over it original ownership. Bonhams
Minguella has not replied to ESPN’s request for comment. With Messi’s father, Jorge, beginning to doubt Barça’s commitment to his son in 2000, the club’s director of football at the time, Carles Rexach, hastily scrambled together an agreement on a napkin.

It was signed by Rexach, Minguella, who had helped bring Messi over from South America, and Gaggioli, who helped broker the deal, serving as a promise for a first contract.

Since then, it has remained under the ownership of Gaggioli in a secure vault in Andorra, the Principality to the north of Barcelona sandwiched between Spain and France.

Negotiations for it to be incorporated into Barça’s museum at the club’s Spotify Camp Nou stadium broke down in the past.

The napkin was originally signed on Dec. 14, 2000 at a tennis club in Barcelona after Rexach had received a frantic call from Jorge Messi threatening to take his son back to Argentina.

“That was when, thinking on my feet, I decided everything,” Rexach told ESPN in 2020 to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing.

“Why a napkin? Because it was the only thing I had available to hand. I saw the only way to relax Jorge was signing something, giving him some proof, so I asked for a napkin from the waiter.

“I wrote: ‘In Barcelona, on 14 December 2000 and in the presence of Messrs Minguella and Horacio, Carles Rexach, FC Barcelona’s sporting director, hereby agrees, under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, to sign the player Lionel Messi, provided that we keep to the amounts agreed upon.’

“I told Jorge that my signature was there and that there were witnesses, that with my name I would take direct responsibility, there was nothing else to talk about and to be patient for a few days because Leo could already consider himself a Barca player.”

Messi, who now plays for MLS side Inter Miami, went on to become Barça’s greatest ever player, making more appearances (778) and scoring more goals (672) than anyone else who has played for the club.

During over 20 years in Barcelona, he won 10 LaLiga titles, seven Copas del Rey and four Champions League trophies while playing for the club before joining Paris Saint-Germain and later Inter Miami.

Individually, he has won the Ballon d’Or a record eight times and has also been named The Best FIFA Men’s Player on three occasions.

International success with Argentina had eluded him until recently, but he finally won the Copa América in 2021 and the World Cup in 2022 to go with the Olympic Gold Medal he won in 2008.



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F1 signs multi-year extension to ‘US$40m-a-year’ DHL deal



Formula One has agreed a multi-year expansion of its global partnership with logistics company DHL.


  • DHL will continue as the series’ global logistics partner
  • The extension is described as a ‘longer-term commitment’, suggesting a longer contract than the four-year extension signed in 2021.


This latest extension builds on a 20-year relationship between Formula One and DHL, with the most recent deal worth around US$40 million per season, according to sponsorship analytics platform Luscid.

Recently, DHL has worked with Formula One on reducing emissions produced by logistics, with a biofuel trial during the European leg of last season resulting in an 83 per cent reduction.


“As our longest-standing partner, DHL has become such a crucial part of the delivery of our events, so we’re delighted to continue that successful collaboration for many more years,” said Jonny Haworth, director of commercial partnerships for Formula One.

“Our partnership has seen the sport transform and grow, and DHL have been hugely supportive in our transition to become a more sustainable sport.

“This will continue to be key as we move towards 2030 and as sustainable logistics continue to develop, I look forward to seeing the positive innovations that come next.”

Coming next:

The 2024 Formula One season gets underway this week with the Bahrain Grand Prix from 29th February to 2nd March.


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CAF to make about $75m in estimated revenue for AFCON 2023



At the Stade Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan last Sunday, mixed emotions filled the air. Heartbreak for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and joy for the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, who clinched the AFCON 2023 trophy with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria.

Ivory Coast’s remarkable journey to lifting the trophy concluded a thrilling AFCON, making it the best experience so far.


During the Africa Cup of Nations opening ceremony on January 13th, CAF President Patrice Motsepe expressed optimism that AFCON 2023 would be the best so far. The events and drama that unfolded in Abidjan undoubtedly support this claim.


Before the final of the competition, Dr Patrice Motsepe mentioned in a press conference that nearly 2 billion people had tuned in to watch AFCON 2023.


The notable rise in viewership was linked to broader broadcast rights, media coverage, commercial partnerships, and the influence of social media.

CAF had 17 commercial partners for the tournament, which included TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, official sponsors such as 1xBet, Visa, and Orange, along with regional sponsors like Ecobank, Unilever, and MTN.


Matches were shown in about 180 countries through deals with partner broadcasters like Sky, Canal+, beIN Sport, BBC, and MultiChoice, as well as 45 Free To Air broadcasters.


Media accreditation saw 6,000 journalists apply, which is double the number from the last AFCON in Cameroon in 2022.

How Many People Viewed AFCON 2021 and how it compares to AFCON 2023? 

The CAF activity report for 2021-2022 indicates that around 500 million viewers from 160 nations tuned in to watch AFCON 2021 in Cameroon, marking an increase of 40 nations compared to AFCON 2019 in Egypt.


Additionally, CAF recorded 1.4 billion streaming impressions on its digital platforms, and there were 351.4 million online video views associated with AFCON Cameroon 2021.


By sticking to the earlier estimate of 2 billion people before the final, it suggests that AFCON viewership saw an increase of over 300%, and this could be more when the official report from CAF is released.

Estimated Sponsorship Revenue for AFCON 2023 

According to GlobalData, a London-based market research firm, it is projected that CAF will generate approximately $75 million in sponsorship revenue from the current AFCON.


The tournament featured 17 commercial partners, including TotalEnergies as the title sponsor, along with 1xBet, Orange, and Unilever.


In the fiscal year 2021-2022, CAF’s overall revenue reached $103.6 million. The sponsorship funds derived from Competitions contributed significantly to this total, generating an impressive cumulative revenue of $79.8 million.


This marked a notable increase of $3.6 million compared to the previous year’s sponsorship funds.


The projected sponsorship revenue for the AFCON 2023 alone is estimated to be $75 million, underscoring the substantial and commendable contribution of CAF to this achievement.


In January, prior to the commencement of AFCON 2023, CAF disclosed a 40% increase in the prize money.


The champions, Ivory Coast, are set to receive USD 7,000,000. The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be awarded USD 4,000,000, while South Africa and DR Congo will each receive USD 2,500,000.


The other four quarter-finalists, Mali, Angola, Guinea, and Cape Verde, will individually get USD 1,300,000.


AFCON made a big impact on social media, from lively fan chats to live updates. But it wasn’t just for fun; some people also made money from it.


Last year, Twitter started an initiative where users could earn a share of the ad revenue from sponsored posts under their tweets.


Some folks partnered with brands, joined subscription programs, or got tips from their followers.


For example, a video of the final moments of the Côte d’Ivoire vs. Nigeria match, posted on the official CAF account, got over 15 million views, 1.5 million likes, and 300,000 retweets.


According to Statista, the average cost per thousand impressions for social media ads globally was $4.33 in the second quarter of 2023, making the estimated ad revenue around $65,000.


The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was undoubtedly a success both on and off the field. The Confederation of African Football, CAF can take pride in organizing a splendid tournament.


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