Bolstered by the two most expensive players in the world in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Tuesday’s tantalising showdown between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City is set to star the most expensive lineups of all time.
Not many clubs can boast greater spending power than reigning Premier League champions City, who were able to splurge $139 million on Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish in the summer after the midfielder caught the eye for England at Euro 2020.
Over the summer, the Abu Dhabi-backed City Football Group which owns the club was said to have raised a whopping $650 million in a loan underwritten by banks Barclays, HSBC, and KKR Capital, the Financial Times said – although that did not result in boss Pep Guardiola signing England captain Harry Kane after City were widely reported to have fallen short of Tottenham’s $203 million asking price.
PSG, meanwhile, are in a different league. Qatar Sports Investments were clearly likely to give the club colossal bargaining power when they took over the French giants in 2011, and perhaps the only real surprise of their most luxurious signing so far was that it took until 2017.
PSG squad value – €997M
Man City squad value – €1.05BN
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) September 28, 2021
Sugar Daddy Clasico
— | (@BigLokonga) September 28, 2021
That was when Brazil enigma Neymar moved to the Parc des Princes from Barcelona for $259 million, with some accounts putting the total cost of the temperamental striker, who recently signed an extension until 2025, at closer to $571 million overall.
A year later, France prodigy Kylian Mbappe became the second-most expensive player of all time, joining for $210 million from Monaco in a move that would ultimately combine him with a figure few would ever have expected to see in Ligue 1.
Lionel Messi’s enforced move from Barca, leaving because of financial rules around spending in La Liga, was a symbol of quite how badly his boyhood club has been mismanaged in recent years.
Man City Squad Value Is Bigger Than PSG .. including Ur Messi ✌ pic.twitter.com/T3RZf1sxYS
— Natty Mbo (@NattyZay) September 28, 2021
El plastico/ el cashico
— . (@mufcaxel) September 28, 2021
Despite that astonishing windfall from the sale of Neymar, the five-time Champions League winners could not afford to keep Messi this summer, leading to a tearful farewell for the icon who once had a contract buyout clause worth $818 million.
Messi’s pay packet in Paris will provide some consolation to the figure many consider the best player of all time. The Argentina captain’s contract reportedly earns him around $121,500 every day, leading to inevitable conjecture – also regularly leveled at City – about Financial Fair Play rules.
Elsewhere among the handsomely-paid players, Belgium maestro Kevin de Bruyne cost City around $93 million when he joined from Wolfsburg, which some fans would consider fair value for the Premier League Player of the Season in 2020, when he also won the first of his two PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards.
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According to Transfermarkt, there are five other City players – Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and last season’s Premier League Player of the Season, Ruben Dias – who each cost more than the next-most expensive Paris signing remaining at the club, $60 million Angel Di Maria.
The site estimates the value of the squads combined at around $2.04 billion, rating De Bruyne ($122 million), England striker Sterling ($110 million) and academy sensation Phil Foden ($97.5 million) as City’s most valuable assets.
For Paris, the three top trumps are as predictable as they are potent: Mbappe is valued at $195 million – a figure that persistent suitors Real Madrid will be keenly aware of – with Neymar priced around $100 million less than the transfer fee he originally commanded, and 34-year-old Messi worth $97.5 million.
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