Gareth Bale looks more than likely to join Real Madrid sooner rather than later. A late bid from Manchester United PLC (NYSE:MANU) seems little more than a distraction for a Madrid club that is determined to capture the attacking Welshman from Tottenham Hotspur Ltd (LON:TTNM). Should Bale make the move for a reported $147 million, he will take his place as the most expensive player of all time. 

The move will ensure he joins an elite group where the values of the players have increased exponentially, outpacing inflation by thousands of times.

The first player that commanded of “large” transfer fee was Scotsman Willie Groves who moved from West Bromich Albion to Aston Villa in 1893 for the sum of $100. Today his value would be $2516.34 based on current levels of inflation.

Here some of the world’s most famous world record transfers and what their values would in today’s money.

  1. 1. Johann Cruyff, part of the “total football” movement in the 1970s moved from Ajax Amsterdam to Barcelona for $1.4 million in 1973. Today he would be worth $7.13 million

  2. 2. Diego Maradona moved from Boca Juniors to Barcelona in 1982 for $4.6 million in a deal that he quickly eclipsed two years later when he moved from Barcelona to Napoli for $7.77 million. Today the deals would be worth $10.77 million and $16.75 million respectively. Two years later Maradona would go on to score the “hand of God” goal that would eliminate England from the 1986 World Cup and cause tensions between the countries for decades.

  1. 3. Rudd Gullit went from Dutch team PSV Eindhoven for $9.32 million, now worth $18.54 million.

  1. 4. Roberto Baggio will always be famous for his World Cup 1994 penalty miss, but in 1990 he was sold for $12.4 million which would be worth over $21.45 million in today’s money.

  1. 5. Gianluigi Lentini was sold for around $20 million in 1993, drawing criticism for the pope at the time who said that the values were undermining efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa. Today his value would be $31.2 million. Unfortunately for Lentini he was involved in a car crash that affected his memory and he forgot how to play the beautiful game.

  1. 6. In 1996 Alan Shearer was transferred from Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United for $23.3 million, the first transfer to a team that wasn’t a European giant. Today he would be sold for around $33.6 million

  1. 7. The original Ronaldo was bought by Internazionale of Milan for $30 million in 1997. Ronaldo went on to become one of the most feared strikers of all time. Today he would be worth $42.6 million.

  1. 8. Italian-born Christian Vieri was bought by Internazionale for a huge $49.73 million just two years after they paid $30 for Ronaldo. Today his value would be worth $67.7 million.

  1. 9. Another two years after that, Real Madrid began buying up the world’s greatest talent that saw the arrival of Beckham, Zidane and Figo, among others. At the time Zinedine Zidane was sold for $82.3 million that equates to $106 million.

  1. 10. It would eight years before the transfer record would be broken again. Again it was Real Madrid when they signed Brazilian Kaka for $87 million. His transfer today would now be worth just $92.86 million, $14 million lower than Zidane.

  1. 11. Finally, the unstoppable Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid for a staggering $124 million, now worth $132.35 million.