Manchester United has had a terrible start to the Premier League season, by Manchester United standards — they lost against Swansea and drew at Sunderland — and so they’ve decided to pay the largest transfer fee ever by a British team to secure Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid. The record $99 million (or, £60 million) fee dwarfs most dollar amounts, and it also represents a step up for Di Maria, who was once sold for 35 soccer balls.
Via an article in The Independent, the Argentine winger recalls when people paid for his services in “footballs” (remember, that’s what the rest of the world calls soccer):
When scouts from Rosario Central first spotted him there was a minor issue as he was already committed to playing for the local side Torito.
“They drove a hard bargain to release me,” recalled Di Maria. “The transfer fee was 35 footballs. That probably puts into perspective where I was and how much it took to get me. Mind you I was very young, about four so I’m not sure it really counts.”
Good point: This was back in the mid-90s, and Rosario Central was his youth team. Still, to say you were once sold for game equipment and now you’re sold for nearly $100 million is quite a feat. To put things in perspective, Nike has a $150 EPL soccer ball — if Man U were to pay his fee in those balls, they’d have to buy roughly 660,000 of them.
To give you an idea of how good this guy is, and why he’s worth so much, here’s a highlight reel of his goals and assists from last season:
By the way, Man United and Real Madrid are used to doing insane amounts of business together: Madrid paid $131.6 million for Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009.
Photo via Getty