On This Day in Football History – 28 May: Messi Torments Man Utd (Again) & Totti Bids Farewell

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M
Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Sure, more football is heading our way in a couple of weeks time (fingers crossed) but for the time being, all we can do is reminisce.

And with the end of May generally regarded as ‘prime time’ in the footballing calendar with domestic cup and European finals aplenty, there’s no doubting May 28 has provided us with some belting moments in the years gone by.

Let’s take a look, eh…

Brian Clough and Peter TaylorBrian Clough and Peter Taylor
Brian Clough 1980 European Cup Final | Getty Images/Getty Images

As well-known philosopher and part-time boxer Anthony Joshua once put it to the world: the first time was so nice, he had to do it twice.

And that’s exactly what Nottingham Forest did during their Brain Clough-inspired pomp at the end of the 70s.

After Trevor Francis had scored the only goal in the 1979 final against Malmo, Forest returned to defend their European Cup crown in Madrid the following year, as a formidable Hamburg side (featuring two-time Ballon d’Or winner Kevin Keegan) stood in their way.

And once again, a single strike would do it for Clough’s men. John Robertson’s coolly taken strike from outside the area proved enough as the English outfit held onto their slender lead for the best part of 70 minutes.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Manchester City FC"
Kyle Walker is celebrating his 30th birthday today | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Shock horror! Footballers were born on 28 May, with Kyle Walker emerging into the world in 1990.

The Sheffield-born Walker would enjoy the entirety of his youth career at local club Sheffield United before earning his big break in 2009 with a switch to Tottenham.

And following a stellar eight-year spell which saw him evolve into one of the Premier League’s supreme full-backs under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino, the electric Walker moved onto Manchester City in 2017 for a then world-record fee paid for a defender (£50m).

The England international isn’t the only star with a 28 May birthday, however; City teammates John Stones (1994) and Phil Foden (2000) along with Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (1991) are other notable names.

Champions League - Ajax v AC MilanChampions League - Ajax v AC Milan
Champions League – Ajax v AC Milan | VI-Images/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal’s interpretation of ‘Total Football’ saw an exuberant Ajax side take Europe by storm in 1994/95.

Typically lining up in a unique 3-1-2-3, the Dutch side had the ultimate balance of youth and experience. Frank Rijkaard was complemented by young guns Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf in midfield, while Finnish trequartista Jari Litmanen was the star. The heartbeat of the side.

A Patrick Kluivert toe-poke saw van Gaal’s men/boys edge past that Milan backline in the Champions League final on May 24, before they wrapped up an unbeaten Eredivisie campaign with a 3-1 victory over FC Twente four days later.

They remain the only side to win the league and Champions League in the same season without tasting defeat. Take that Arsenal…

Captain Paolo Maldini if Milan lifts the trophyCaptain Paolo Maldini if Milan lifts the trophy
Captain Paolo Maldini Milan lifts the Champions League trophy | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Out of all the Champions League finals re-watched during lockdown, I can assure you the 2003 iteration between Italy’s two supreme outfits makes up a tiny percentage.

Despite the wealth of attacking talent on show, including Alessandro Del Piero, Andriy Shevchenko and Rui Costa, the defences emphatically prevailed as the 120-minute contest ended a stalemate.

The quality of the shootout was fitting of the encounter, as only five of the ten penalties were converted. Shevchenko, however, kept his cool to send Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way and hand the Rossoneri their sixth Champions League crown.

The Barcelona players celebrate with boss Pep Guardiola | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Despite Pep Guardiola’s best efforts to downplay the performance, Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final was the pinnacle of the Catalan’s philosophy.

Barça tormented Fergie’s title-winners from start to finish, making the Red Devils look nothing short of 11 players who’d won a competition to play on club football’s grandest stage.

Although Wayne Rooney almost immediately cancelled out Pedro’s early opener, sublime second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and David Villa wrapped up one of the most dominant final performances we’ve ever seen.

Read more about that game here…

Painful grammatical errors aside, Eden Hazard confirming his switch to Chelsea – then Champions of Europe – was pretty great.

Joining for a £32m fee, the Belgian would go on to cement himself as one of the finest foreign exports to strut their stuff on Premier League shores. During a seven-year spell in west London, Hazard would score 85 league goals, rack up six major honours and secure the PFA Player of the Year for his majestic 2014/15 campaign.

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning spot-kick in the shootout | Clive Mason/Getty Images

A repeat of the 2014 final took place two years later in Milan after both Madrid outfits sneaked through their semi-final ties.

Sergio Ramos, who bagged the crucial equaliser in Lisbon, bundled over the opener, before Antoine Griezmann spurned a glorious opportunity to restore parity with a penalty early in the second period. Yannick Carrasco, however, would eventually draw Atleti level with ten minutes to go and after the Belgian celebrated in the most audacious of fashions with his girlfriend, the Madrid pair headed for penalties.

Juanfran snapped the perfect start to the shootout as his effort cannoned off the post, allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to step up and crash home Los Blancos’ winning spot-kick.

“I have five Champions Leagues, these guys [Atletico] zero.”

Francesco TottiFrancesco Totti
AS Roma v Genoa CFC – Serie A | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Over 24 years, 786 games and 307 goals on from his Roma debut away at Brescia, on this day in 2017 we saw L’Ottavo Re di Roma (the Eighth King of Rome) bid farewell to his kingdom.

Described as a ‘phenomenon’ by Messi, an ‘artist’ in the eyes of Michel Platini and Carlo Ancelotti’s only regret in management, the graceful golden boy established himself as one of his generation’s greatest.

His final appearance for the Giallorossi came as a substitute in a 3-2 victory over Genoa. Totti, who had captured the hearts and minds of the Italian capital, was greeted with a raucous reception, as a teary Olimpico said goodbye to an icon.


Arthur Melo Rebuffs Juventus Interest Amid Miralem Pjanic Swap Rumours

Arthur Melo
Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona – La Liga | David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo is said to have dismissed any potential move to Juventus, informing his current club Barcelona that he wishes to stay beyond this summer.

The 23-year-old had been linked with a move to the Italian giants who are looking to add some youth to their ageing midfield.

Arthur left his home country of Brazil to sign with La Blaugrana in a deal worth £27m in 2018, but has been linked with a move away this summer in order for Barcelona to facilitate new signings.


Sky Sports report that a swap deal involving himself and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic had been explored, but Arthur is not keen on a move away and has expressed his desire to stay in Spain.

Barcelona have been linked with moves for a number of players including Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, but the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic combined with their large squad means that some funds need to be raised by the sales of several first team players.

Sky Sports also reported that Arthur had been discussed in discussions between Barca and Inter over the transfer of Martinez, but again the Brazilian was not interested in a move away from the Nou Camp.

The midfielder has struggled to cement his place in the starting XI at the Catalan club this season, making just 23 appearances in all competitions. He has managed four goals and four assists, however, as he fights to prove his worth in Quique Setien’s side.

Arthur MeloArthur Melo
FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad – La Liga | Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

With Bayern Munich deciding not to make Philippe Coutinho’s signature permanent, Barcelona face another difficult task in resolving the future of their £130m signing, which looks to be away from Catalunya.

Barca will hope that the global pandemic doesn’t affect transfer business too significantly so that they can offload their players in order to bring in some new star power and challenge on domestic and European fronts next season.


Barcelona Insist Ansu Fati Will Stay at Camp Nou Amid ‘Big Offer’ From Premier League Club

Ansu Fati
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona have found themselves in the midst of financial uncertainty, with additional funding paramount to ensuring they can chase top targets while at the same time keeping a steady ship.

However, despite a plethora of first-team stars having their names be put up on the market, teenage sensation Ansu Fati will not be one of them.

La Blaugrana have been out of action for a number of months due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has put an immeasurable strain on the club’s finances. It’s the same with sides across Europe, but Barcelona have targets they’re aiming for and a large wage bill to contend with, so if suitable offers come in for all but six of their players, then they’re willing to sell.

That applies to perennially injured forward Ousmane Dembele, claim Mundo Deportivo, who has shone on occasion but has struggled with disciplinary issues and continuous spells on the sidelines.

The club have absolute faith in Fati, though, who burst onto the scene this season at the tender age of 16 and scored his first goal in just his second outing for Barça. Just as the club are happy with his progress thus far, the forward too is content with life at Camp Nou, making the stance on his future much easier to contend with.

A summer pursuit of Lautaro Martinez is set to continue as the current La Liga leaders maintain their interest, but despite the substantial fee they’ll need to part with, Fati won’t be departing in any way to help finance it.

Ansu FatiAnsu Fati
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

One slight issue made by Sport is the minor concerns coming out of Fati’s camp, who believe he is ready for more regular first-team opportunities and worry that Barça won’t grant him adequate playing time. It’s said that the club understand this fear, but have made it clear he is in Quique Setién’s plans.

Nor will be be allowed to leave on loan, which is an interesting development alongside the news that the club have received plenty of interest in recent weeks, with even agent Jorge Mendes calling with a big offer from an unnamed Premier League club.

Fati’s ceiling is sky-high and his talent remarkable, but even if another club were to want to benefit from that permanently, they’d need to deal with €170m release clause – which rises to €400m when he joins the first team full time.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!


Ferran Torres: Assessing the Options for the Young Valencia Forward & Where He Should Go

Ferran Torres
Valencia CF v Granada CF – La Liga | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It’s astonishing to think that Ferran Torres only turned 20 fairly recently.

The Valencia forward has already made 88 senior appearances for the club he grew up supporting, with 35 coming this season. In 2019/20, he has managed six goals and seven assists, and while these aren’t exactly phenomenal figures, Torres has developed into a very well-rounded player.

Torres’ progression, both for his club and on the international scene at varying age groups, has led to him attracting plenty of attention. The Spaniard has been linked with pretty much every top European club this season, and interest in him has only grown as a result of his contract situation.

He only has just over one year remaining on his current deal and is said to have rejected a number of new offers from his club to extend his stay. Within his current deal, he has a €100m release clause, but the Athletic have reported that Torres could depart this summer (or whenever the transfer window opens) for ‘significantly’ less.

This is because Valencia were already in a ‘tricky’ position financially prior to the coronavirus and had accepted that they would need to sell some important players this summer. As well as this, the club also don’t want to run the risk of allowing Torres to enter into the final 12 months of his deal, and potentially depart for almost nothing.

With this in mind, we have decided to take a look at Torres’ options and decide which move would suit him best…

Ferran TorresFerran Torres
Valencia CF v Atalanta – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg | UEFA – Handout/Getty Images

One option is Barcelona and in many ways, it makes a lot of sense. Torres has grown up in Spain and the chance to remain (fairly) close to his family and friends could be very appealing and important to a young player like Torres is.

Of course, Barça have also held an interest in him for quite some time now, with the Catalan giants pushing to sign him back when Torres was just 17. The timing wasn’t right then, but with just over a year remaining on his current deal, it could suit both parties. It is even said that Torres could be keen to hear what Barça have to offer now.

La Blaugrana have the likes of Ousmane Dembele at their disposal, but the Frenchman has very much struggled with injuries. The club are crying out for a player like Torres and while they may be hoping he can make an instant impact, Torres could be eased into the first team.

In other ways, however, it makes very little sense.

Barça are a club struggling financially and politically. The unrest and hostile atmosphere could immediately deter a player, while the pressure that would be placed on Torres upon his arrival also wouldn’t be beneficial for his career.

Assessment: It would be illogical. Don’t do it, Ferran.

Raphael Varane, Ferrán TorresRaphael Varane, Ferrán Torres
Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF – La Liga | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

How many wingers do Real Madrid want?

Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane appears to be keen on rebuilding his ageing side and could look to offload a number of more experienced members of the squad when the transfer window opens. Real have already been linked with a number of exciting young talents, and Torres is also on this list.

Familiar with the style of play in La Liga, Torres may not necessarily need too much time to adjust, something that has proven to be very challenging for Luka Jovic. However, while he would be a shrewd investment for Real, it wouldn’t be the greatest move for the player himself.

Limited opportunities and a great deal of pressure could halt his progression. It is a move that would suit Torres in two or three seasons, after he has taken the next step in his career.

Assessment: Being a part of the rebuild could be appealing, but it’s just a bit too soon.

Juergen KloppJuergen Klopp
Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Why wouldn’t a player want to join Liverpool?

Soon-to-be (if the season does get back underway) Premier League champions as well as last season’s winners of the Champions League, Liverpool are a dominant force in Europe, all the while playing penetrating, free-flowing football.

The Reds have shown an interest in Torres and this is understandable as he would fit into Jurgen Klopp’s style of play. His physical attributes and ability to be direct are qualities that would benefit him in the Premier League, while his work ethic, versatility and understanding of the game would also make him a good fit in Klopp’s squad.

The problem, however, is game time…again.

Unless any of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino departs, when is Torres going to be given a run of games in the starting lineup? Of course, if one player were to sustain an injury, it would be a different story, but it would be hard to envisage a scenario where Torres would be satisfied with the playing time he would receive if he moves to Anfield.

This is a player with tremendous potential and he will require regular game time if he is to reach the heights so many expect he can.

Assessment: Sure, it’s appealing, but it wouldn’t be what Torres needs.

Pep Guardiola, Bernardo SilvaPep Guardiola, Bernardo Silva
Manchester City v Manchester United – Carabao Cup: Semi Final | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester City have – yep, you’ve guessed it – also been linked with Torres. In City’s case, they are searching for a potential replacement for Leroy Sane, who could be on his way out of the club.

Torres would be an excellent addition and it is a frightening to think about how much further Torres could improve under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. The Spanish forward would slot effortlessly into the squad, operating with a similar technical ability and understanding of the game to the likes of Bernardo Silva and David Silva, while also possessing lightning quick pace.

Manchester City should be considering making a move – and fast – for this talented Spaniard, but the issue of playing time once again arises as there is plenty of competition for places in the City squad.

Torres has proven during his career thus far that he isn’t a player to shy away from a challenge and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take the risk of moving to the Etihad if an offer came in for him, considering the improvements he could make to his game by learning from those around him.

Assessment: Would be a risk, but could be an excellent decision for both parties.

Ferran TorresFerran Torres
Atalanta v Valencia CF – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Torres fits the profile of an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer/Football Manager-type signing. And while Man Utd have – and will continue to be – linked with almost every player in world football, they have been keeping tabs on the youngster for some time.

Torres would slot into a fluid front three, which would suit him, while he would also be expected to be competing for a starting spot at Old Trafford.

But there’s one major problem.

Jadon Sancho.

The Borussia Dortmund man is one of United’s priority signings this summer and their efforts will go towards landing him in what could be a mammoth deal. The Red Devils are right to be considering players such as Torres as an alternative should they fail to bring Sancho in, while he would also represent a much cheaper alternative.

His style of play would work well at United and, in theory, it is a move that makes complete sense – but it may well be contingent upon whether the club land their first-choice target. Fans may also be keen to see United bring in more than one winger in order to increase their attacking options, but the financial impact of COVID-19 must also be recognised.

Assessment: Would suit both parties, but he isn’t United’s top priority.

Ferran TorresFerran Torres
Valencia CF v Granada CF – La Liga | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Completing the list are Borussia Dortmund. The Germans are very keen on Torres, and they are even said to have recently made the first proper move for him, as Bild reported (via the Daily Mail) that they have made a bid of around £34.8m for his services.

Could he be Jadon Sancho’s replacement?

The truth is, he could very well be, with 90min still being told that United remain intent on securing a deal for the Englishman. But equally, if Sancho were to stay put for whatever reason, this shouldn’t impact BVB in their efforts to sign Torres.

Dortmund, of course, have built up a reputation of developing young talents and giving them the platform they need to shine, and this must be an attractive proposition for Torres. Equally, he would get regular game time, while he would also be playing Champions League football. Capable of playing on the left, on the right and up front, he would be an excellent fit and it would be the most logical place for him to continue developing.

Whether Sancho stays or he goes, Dortmund should come back in with another offer for Torres. Should Sancho complete his switch to Man Utd, Torres would be a worthy replacement.

Assessment: What are you both waiting for?!

For more from Adam Aladay, follow him on Twitter!


Assessing 24 of the Biggest Swap Deals in Football History

Inter Milan's Cameroonian forward Samuel
Inter Milan’s Cameroonian forward Samuel | CHRISTOPHE SIMON/Getty Images

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the finances of every football club, it seems likely that we will see more swap deals take place in the upcoming transfer window.

And while they aren’t a common occurrence in past windows, you can still find examples of clubs looking to save money by offloading one player to sign another. It adds another element of drama to the already crazy art of negotiating moves for players, while becoming a source of entertainment of its own, as fans debate and argue over who got the better deal.

With that all said, here’s a list of the biggest and most famous swap deals that have taken place in the history of football, with an assessment on each transfer.

Peter OdemwingiePeter Odemwingie
Odemwingie scored all of his five goals for the Potters in one half-season | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

We begin with the swap deal you’ve probably forgotten, unless you’re a Stoke or Cardiff fan. It’s fair to say that neither player had quite the impact their clubs were hoping for.

While Odemwingie started off well with five goals in his first 15 games, injuries led to a diminished role for the Nigerian at the Potters. As for Jones, he failed to help the Bluebirds avoid relegation from the top flight. The striker did end up Cardiff’s top-scorer for the next season, but was soon shipped out for loan spells elsewhere.

Winner: Cardiff

UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"
Muslera has played 365 games for Cimbom to date | ANP Sport/Getty Images

It’s rare for a swap deal to take place between two teams of different countries. But that’s what happened when Lazio arranged for Muslera’s departure to Turkey in exchange for bringing Cana to the Stadio Olimpico.

And despite the Albanian midfielder doing well in Serie A, Muslera ended up being a terrific signing for Cimbom. Still the first-choice stopper today, he’s won 14 trophies during his time at the club, and was voted the country’s footballer of the year in 2016.

Winner: Galatasaray

Yes, you read that correctly. Palace legend Ian Wright was swapped for a couple of gym weights and a bag of footballs.

Having been scouted by the Eagles, they offered to hand the non-league side gym weights and balls in exchange for the player. The England international ended up scoring 118 goals for the south London club, and was voted their Player of the Century. As for the gym weights and footballs, we’ve no idea what happened to them…

Winner: Crystal Palace

Peter CrouchPeter Crouch
Crouch played just six games for the Clarets before retiring | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

There was excitement in the air on deadline day of the 2019 January window. No, not because Lazar Markovi? was headed to Fulham.

Rather, the big move was when Crouch and cash were exchanged by Stoke for the Burnley striker Vokes. In hindsight, neither side really won the deal – Crouchy retired months after the deal, while his Welsh counterpart has only netted seven times for the Potters. Hard to pick a winner here.

Winner: Burnley (for the £8m)

Fernando TorresFernando Torres
Atléti legend Torres returned to win the Europa League | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

With Torres clearly not in the Rossoneri’s long-term plans, a move away seemed inevitable. Keen to bring him back to Los Rojiblancos, Diego Simeone traded away winger Alessio Cerci to sign the Spaniard on loan.

Despite having previously flourished in Serie A, the Italian scored once in 33 games for the club and now finds himself in Serie B. On the other hand, Torres played another 160 games for Atléti and was able to win the Europa League with his boyhood club.

Winner: Atlético Madrid

James BeattieJames Beattie
Beattie was at his most prolific at the Saints | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Having scored nine league goals in the 1997/98 Premier League season, Davies soon attracted the attention of Blackburn, who went on to send both youngster Beattie and £7.5m to the south coast in exchange for the forward.

Yet the move backfired on the Lancashire club, as Davies ended up scoring just twice in two seasons. And while Beattie needed some time to settle in, he eventually assumed the mantle of being the Saints’ star striker, netting 76 goals in 235 games before moving on to Everton.

Winner: Southampton

Jose Antonio ReyesJose Antonio Reyes
José Antonio Reyes scored seven goals in his only season at Los Blancos | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With Reyes keen for a move back to Spain, Arsenal finally agreed to a loan-swap deal with Real Madrid, sending the winger there and gaining Júlio Baptista in return.

The Brazilian only scored three league goals in his sole season at the Emirates Stadium, and failed to make a major impact for the Gunners. Reyes on the other hand was more regularly used by Los Blancos as they went on to lift the La Liga title that year.

Winner: Real Madrid

Gianpaolo PazziniGianpaolo Pazzini
Pazzini ended up the more prolific of the duo at I Rossoneri | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

With both city rivals struggling to make it work for their Italian strikers, they decided to swap them, albeit with Inter paying an extra £5.5m for Cassano.

Yet the Nerazzurri would find the former Real Madrid forward difficult to work with, despite his seven league goals, with many questioning his fitness and work ethic. Their counterparts, however, managed to get a prolific first season from Pazzini, before his scoring touch began to diminish in later years.

Winner: AC Milan

Gylfi SigurdssonGylfi Sigurdsson
Sigurdsson became a key figure for the Swans | Stu Forster/Getty Images

In what became Mauricio Pochettino’s first signings as Tottenham manager in 2014, Gylfi Sigurðsson was swapped to Swansea in exchange for both Ben Davies and Michel Vorm.

The Icelandic star became the key midfield talisman for the Swans, with his set-pieces and creativity crucial in staying afloat in the Premier League. But considering Davies’ status as the first-choice left-back in north London, Spurs will be happy with the deal they got, given that Vorm has also served as a solid back-up option for Hugo Lloris.

Winner: Tottenham

Man Utd v ValenciaMan Utd v Valencia
Andy Cole’s goals were key to the Red Devils’ success | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It was a major surprise when Sir Alex Ferguson sanctioned the signing of Andy Cole from Newcastle United, with £6m and youngster Keith Gillespie heading in the opposite direction.

But the legendary manager would have the last laugh, as Cole scored 121 goals to help the Red Devils claim five top-flight titles in a hugely successful period. As for the Tynesiders, they weren’t able to challenge their rivals, even though Gillespie ended up becoming a decent winger at St James’ Park.

Winner: Manchester United

Tottenham's Jermain Defoe celebrates aftTottenham's Jermain Defoe celebrates aft
Defoe scored 143 goals in two spells at Spurs | AFP IOPP/Getty Images

Few swap transfers end up working out for both sides. Yet this deal ended up leaving Spurs and West Ham both happy with their respective goalscoring strikers.

Defoe would score 22 goals in his first full season at Spurs, and became the team’s chief marksman up front before he departed for Portsmouth. Meanwhile, Zamora didn’t quite reach the same heights as his predecessor, but was still a key player for the Hammers, helping the club achieve promotion in 2005.

Winner: Tottenham

AC Milan's midfielder Andrea Pirlo celebAC Milan's midfielder Andrea Pirlo celeb
Would you ever consider trading away Andrea Pirlo? | PACO SERINELLI/Getty Images

Inter fans, look away. Here’s a brief summary of how you traded away arguably the best modern Italian footballer to have played to your city rivals.

Having not impressed the Nerazzurri’s management in his 40 appearances, the Andrea Pirlo was sent across the San Siro divide and was swapped for Guglielminpietro, as well as a bit of cash. While Guly only played 30 games for Inter, Pirlo became a star for the Rossoneri and won two Champions League titles. It’s pretty easy to see who won this swap deal.

Winner: AC Milan

Michael OwenMichael Owen
Owen scored 16 goals in his only season at Los Blancos | Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

With just a year left on Owen’s deal, Real Madrid capitalised and signed the Englishman, paying just £8m and sending Núñez to Anfield in exchange.

It couldn’t have gone worse for Núñez, who injured his knee in his first day of training and never was able to get into the Reds’ first team from that point onwards.

As for his English counterpart, the striker scored 16 goals in his only season in Spain before moving to Newcastle for £17m, in what became great business for Los Blancos.

Winner: Real Madrid

Bonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind himBonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind him
Bonucci has put a disaster spell at Milan firmly behind him | Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Having arrived at the San Siro for a €42m fee, Bonucci was a major disappointment for Milan. Given that he wasn’t getting any younger, the club looked for a replacement that could assume his position for the future.

Hence, the veteran was swapped back to former club Juventus for youngster Mattia Caldara, with Gonzalo Higuaín also temporarily headed to the Rossoneri. It didn’t work out well at all for Il Diavolo, as the Argentine found himself at Chelsea a few months later. And while Caldara has yet to establish himself for Milan, Bonucci has assumed his role for the Bianconeri without looking out of place. Juve definitely won this deal.

Winner: Juventus

Fabio CannavaroFabio Cannavaro
Cannavaro became crucial to Juve’s defence after the move | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Wait, Inter traded away another Italian great three years after Pirlo?

Failing to excel at the San Siro, Cannavaro was swapped for Juventus goalkeeper Fabián Carini in 2004. The Uruguayan stopper played just four games for the Neruzzurri, while the legendary defender would win two Scudetti (before the club was stripped of their titles). Still, the Bianconeri got a way better return here…

Winner: Juventus

AC Milan's midfielder Clarence Seedorf (AC Milan's midfielder Clarence Seedorf (
Seedorf lifted ten trophies at Milan | PACO SERINELLI/Getty Images

Another swap deal between the Milan clubs saw Seedorf traded to the Rossoneri, in exchange for Francesco Coco who headed to Inter. Once again, the Nerazzurri got the worse end of the deal.

Coco would fail to play regularly due to a string of injuries that curtailed his time at the club. Seedorf, however, became a legend at Milan, winning ten trophies and becoming an essential part of their success under Carlo Ancelotti.

Winner: AC Milan

Roberto CarlosRoberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos claimed Roy Hodgson’s spell at Inter ‘destroyed him’ | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Chilean star Zamorano became a transfer target for many of Europe’s elite, having scored 28 goals to help Real lift the 1994/95 La Liga title. Inter, keen to sign the striker, offered up £1m plus Carlos, who was unhappy with manager Roy Hodgson at the time.

The Nerazzurri forward wasn’t a bad player at the San Siro, but his goalscoring rate began to decrease, as the likes of Ronaldo took his first-team spot. Los Blancos, on the other hand, were delighted to end up with the Brazilian legend Carlos, who ended up playing more than 500 games for the club and was a key part of the successful ‘Galacticos’ era.

Winner: Real Madrid

Luiz would later become a teammate of Mati? during both spells at Stamford Bridge | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

In high demand after impressing at Benfica, Chelsea acted swiftly to acquire Luiz, with then-reserve Mati? and £20m being enough to make the deal happen.

The Brazilian played 248 games for the Blues over two spells, while Mati? ended up impressing in Portugal, earning him a move back to Stamford Bridge three years after his departure. With the Blues getting the best of the duo on the pitch in England, they ultimately won the deal in the end.

Winner: Chelsea

Diego MilitoDiego Milito
Milito was a goal-scoring machine at Inter | Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

In 2009, Inter, always looking to push the boundaries of player transfers, proceeded to sign Milito and Motta from Genoa, in exchange for a small fee, four players and co-ownership of another youngster.

The two Nerazzurri signings would prove to be instrumental for the club, particularly in the 2009/10 treble-winning season. As for the Genoa quintet, many of them were shipped off to other clubs, including a young Bonucci, who would soon end up at Juventus.

Winner: Inter

Alexis SanchezAlexis Sanchez
Sánchez has not been at his best for the Red Devils | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Remember when this was said to be a good deal for both teams? Seems like a long time ago now.

As Sánchez’s deal came close to expiring, the Gunners struck a deal with United to send the want-away Chilean north, with Mkhitaryan heading in the opposite direction. Yet neither side have emerged from the deal as the better side, given that both players are now on loan in Italy and don’t seem to have a future at either club.

Winner: Arsenal (for paying the lower wages)

Christian VieriChristian Vieri
Vieri only won one trophy with Inter despite scoring loads of goals | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A world-record transfer at the time, Inter signing Christian Vieri to partner Ronaldo was a sign of intent and promised a successful era at the San Siro.

But despite the Italian scoring 123 goals during his time at the Nerazzurri, it was only enough to win a single Coppa Italia trophy. Given that Simeone went on to win a league and cup double with the Biancocelesti, as well as the club pocketing a huge fee at the time for Vieri, Lazio were the winners of this swap deal.

Winners: Lazio

Deco helped the Catalans win two La Liga titles and a Champions League | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Having won UEFA’s Club Footballer of the Year in 2004, Deco became a sought-after player for many European clubs. But it was the addition of Quaresma that swung the deal in favour of Barcelona, with Porto happy to obtain the services of the young Portuguese star.

Despite dazzling defences in Portugal for several seasons, Quaresma was unable to perform consistently for the Dragões. His compatriot however continued to shine on a bigger stage and helped the Blaugrana win five trophies, cementing his place as a modern midfield great.

Winner: Barcelona

Ashley ColeAshley Cole
Ashley Cole played over 300 games for the Blues after his move | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

A highly controversial deal at the time, both players were keen to leave their respective clubs and got their wish when the Gunners and Blues came together to agree the swap transfer.

While Gallas was a regular at the Emirates, his time was blemished with various incidents, such as sulking after defeat at Birmingham City. Cole, on the other hand, won nine trophies at Chelsea and was one of the first names on the teamsheet at Stamford Bridge.

Winner: Chelsea

Samuel Eto'oSamuel Eto'o
Eto’o scored plenty of goals to lead Inter to a treble in the 2009/10 season | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Having decided that Eto’o wasn’t going to fit into his system, Pep Guardiola decided to exchange the striker, with cash (and Alexander Hleb until he refused the move) for Ibrahimovi? in 2009.

The mercurial Swede had a prolific first season at Camp Nou, but wasn’t willing to play out wide to accommodate Lionel Messi and left not long after. Meanwhile, Eto’o ended up having a fantastic two seasons in Italy, scoring 53 goals in just 102 games and leading the Nerazzurri to six trophies.

Winner: Inter