5 biggest release clauses in football
Antoine Griezmann recently was in the news when Barcelona added an €800 million release clause after his big-money move to Camp Nou. This is four times the current world record transfer fee. It would be surprising to know that there are even bigger release clauses in football. It will be even more surprising to know who has the biggest release clause. Even though most of these clauses are unlikely to be activated due to absurd financial demands, let's look at the 5 biggest release clauses in football.
#5 Lionel Messi
One of the best footballers of all time, Lionel Messi is valued very highly by FC Barcelona. He is currently the world's highest-earning footballer and has a massive €700 million release clause. Messi had been Barcelona's best player in the last decade winning 5 Ballon d'Ors, a record he shares with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi has suggested many times that he won't be leaving Barcelona but even if any club wanted to sign him, this mammoth sum would be a discouragement for a player who is reaching the end of his prime years.
Also at €700M: Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio, Isco
#4 Brahim Diaz
One of the surprise faces on the list is Brahim Diaz, the young Spaniard who was signed by Real Madrid from Manchester City. He has made a few appearances in La Liga for Madrid but hasn't left his mark on the first team yet. He has a surprisingly big €750M release clause
He is a player that surely has the potential to be world-class but it is too soon to say anything. The only thing we can do is wait and see whether his release clause will ever be activated. With a lot of quality in the Madrid first team, he will have to face tough competition to find a place in the starting eleven.
#3 Luka Modric
The current Ballon d'Or holder Luka Modric has a massive release clause in his contract. He has a €750M clause in his contract. Modric is currently in the final years of his prime. He has had a stellar career and finally ended the Ballon d'Or duopoly of Messi and Ronaldo.
Even if Madrid is willing to sell the midfielder it is quite clear that they won't be expecting anyone to pay his release clause. With a poor season behind him, it will be good to see him work his magic when the new season kicks off.
#2 Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann recently joined Barcelona when the Catalans paid his €120M release clause to Atletico Madrid. After his arrival at Barcelona, they inserted a massive €800M release clause in contract making sure that other clubs won't be able to price him away so easily.
It will be great to see Griezmann play along with Messi and Suarez next season. After a long trophyless drought in the UCL, Barcelona will be looking to rely on Griezmann in getting them to that title.
#1 Karim Benzema
Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in this list and the biggest one. Karim Benzema has a staggering €1 billion release clause. He has passed his prime even though he continues to be a major goal-scoring threat for Madrid. It is interesting that Ronaldo also had the same release clause as Benzema but it was reduced later after he expressed his desire to leave. It is possible that the same will happen for Benzema if he ever wants to leave Madrid.