Football’s Most Famous Free Transfers Ranked From ‘GOAT’ To ‘Still A Rip-Off’


Football’s free transfers have been ranked via TierMaker with Robert Lewandowski and Andrea Pirlo named the greatest bargains ever, while Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh is among the worst flops.

It’s 26 years since the Bosman rule came into the game and crowning ‘Lewangoalski’ as the freebie GOAT is easy. The Bayern Munich No 9 has scored 294 goals for the club since arriving, for nothing, from Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

A great move for Bayern – but one of the worst decisions ever was AC Milan thinking Andrea Pirlo was past it and letting him go to Juventus for free in 2011. The midfield genius was crucial in re-establishing Juve as Italy’s dominant club, winning four Serie A titles in a row.

Star veteran moves don’t always work out like Pirlo’s, though. Ask Joe Cole (Liverpool), Robert Pires (Aston Villa) or Michael Owen (Stoke) – each of these are in the ‘Big-Name Flop’ category for players who excelled at other clubs. But definitely not after those ones.

In the ‘Iconic’ category sit Sol Campbell and his controversial move from Tottenham to Arsenal, Michael Ballack going to Chelsea (for nothing!), Cafu switching Roma for AC Milan and Steve McManaman becoming a cult hero – and winning two Champions Leagues – at Real Madrid.

TierMaker ranking of famous free transfers is below.

GOAT: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Iconic: Cafu (AC Milan), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Steve McManaman (Real Madrid), Luis Enrique (Barcelona), Ruud Gullit (Chelsea), Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan)

Underrated: James Milner (Liverpool), Raul (Schalke), Teemu Pukki (Norwich), Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton), Gary McAllister (Liverpool), Gus Poyet (Chelsea), Demba Ba (Newcastle), Paul Lambert (Borussia Dortmund)

Good: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man United), Craig Bellamy (Liverpool), Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Joel Matip (Liverpool), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Josh King (Bournemouth), Henrik Larsson (Barcelona), Gianluca Vialli (Chelsea), Dani Alves (Juventus/PSG)

Big-Name Flop: Joe Cole (Liverpool), George Weah (Man City), Robert Pires (Aston Villa), Michael Owen (Stoke), Victor Valdes (Man United), Ian Rush (Leeds), Mark Bosnich (Chelsea), Freddie Ljungberg (Celtic), Javier Saviola (Real Madrid)

Awful: Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal), Philipp Degen (Liverpool), Milan Jovanovic (Liverpool), Jose Bosingwa (QPR), Andriy Voronin (Liverpool), Arnau Riera (Sunderland), Mladen Petric (West Ham)

Still A Rip-Off: Winston Bogarde (Chelsea)

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image credit: PA Images/TierMaker