La Liga’s Billionaire Boys
La Liga is home to some of the best players to ever grace the game. The Spanish top-flight has seen some incredible teams, from Real Madrid’s Galacticos to Barcelona under Pep Guardiola from 2009 to 2011, widely considered to be the best football side ever.
Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo Nizzario, Luis Figo, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, Modric, Sergio Ramos. The list of generational talents to have plied their trade in La Liga is endless.
La Liga stipulations require every player to have a release clause in their contract. This allows players to not be held captive should a suitable offer come through, as well as giving selling clubs easier passage to reject offers should they not meet the valuation.
In 2017, PSG shocked the world by activating Neymar’s release clause at Barcelona, resulting in the player switching Catalonia for Paris. The Brazilian’s release clause at the time was €222million, a figure that no one in world of football expected to be matched.
Since that world-record transfer, Spanish clubs have taken more precaution in terms of protecting their players by putting significantly higher release clauses in their contracts. Prized talents and influential players are handed deals with exorbitant release valuations, effectively pricing the player out of any move.
Let’s take a look at La Liga’s seven Billionaire Boys, the players with the highest release clauses in world football.
- Ronald Araujo (FC Barcelona) – €1billion
Uruguayan centre back Ronald Araujo is widely considered as one of the best up-and-coming defenders in world football. The 23-year-old attracted major interest from multiple Premier League clubs in the past. So, what did Barca do to avoid a potential move? Slap a €1billion release clause in his new deal.
2. Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona) – €1billion
Despite an injury-plagued career thus far, 19-year-old winger Ansu Fati is the most naturally talented and exciting prospect to come out La Masia since a certain Lionel Messi. Since making his debut in August 2019, the Spanish International has scored 21 goals and provided 8 assists in 66 appearances for Barca. An undoubted future world beater.
3. Pedri (FC Barcelona) – €1billion
The second Spaniard on the list is another Barcelona star, Pedri. The 2021 Golden Boy winner has been compared to Spanish legend Andres Iniesta, and it’s easy to see why. Pedri is pure silk. Barcelona’s reliance on Pedri runs the risk of burning him out at a young age, as the midfielder played over 70 games in the 2020/2021 campaign. This certainly affected Pedri last season as he only managed to make 21 appearances across all competitions.
4. Gavi (FC Barcelona) – €1billion
The newest member of La Liga’s Billionaire Boys club, Gavi recently extended his deal amid interest from the Premier League, namely Chelsea. The midfielder had his breakout campaign last season, making 54 appearances across all competitions. The 18-year-old managed a respectable 2 goals and 4 assists from the middle of the park. Gavi is bound to be a name on everyone’s lips for the foreseeable future.
5. Rodrygo (Real Madrid) – €1billion
Rodrygo proved his importance to Real Madrid last season during their run to a record 14th UEFA Champions League success. The Brazilian winger’s cameos lifted his teammates, as Madrid came from behind in every knockout tie. Real Madrid not signing another forward after their pursuit of Mbappe failed, is an indication of how highly Rodrygo is thought of by Los Blancos.
6. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid) – €1billion
Vinicius Jr has rocketed to superstar status over the last 12 months after the Brazilian had an outstanding campaign in 2021/2022. Not only was he pivotal to Madrid’s title win, but the 22-year-old also bagged the winner in the UCL final against Liverpool to win his side the Double in May this year. Vinicius is almost certain to start for Brazil in Qatar at the end of the year, which indicates how supremely talented the youngster is, given how stacked Brazil’s attack is. Furthermore, the winger is considered to be one of the best in his position at such a tender age. The only way is up for Vinicius.
7. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – €1billion
Indisputably the biggest name on the list, Karim Benzema has been the king of football over the last 12 months. The Frenchman has come off a season where he led his side to a La Liga and UEFA Champions League double. Benzema scored 44 goals and provided a further 16 assists in the 2021/2022 campaign. Just like his teammates Rodrygo and Vinicius, Benzema also played an astronomical role in Madrid’s continental success, scoring back-to-back hattricks in the knockout stages against PSG and Chelsea, respectively. The 34-year-old is finally getting the much-deserved recognition for his talent after being in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for most of his Madrid career.
Benzema is nailed on to win the Ballon D’or 2022, the first Frenchman to pick up the award since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.