5 players who earned big-money moves after shining at a major international tournament

Wayne Rooney is one of several players who made a big-money move after shining at a major tournament.
Wayne Rooney is one of several players who made a big-money move after shining at a major tournament.

International tournaments are often viewed in a mixed light. While they bring together fans from different clubs in support of one team, they also become arenas to scrutinise players in different systems for a brief period before club football returns.

On the business side of football, international tournaments offer clubs an excellent opportunity to scout new talent. Players who impress at the FIFA World Cup, Euros or Copa America often find themselves on their way to a new club.

There have been several instances of such transfers over the years. Some tend to go under the radar, but there have also been many headline signings that have come on the back of international tournaments.

On that note, we look at five big transfers that took place after players performed admirably at an international tournament:

#5 Asamoah Gyan - Rennes to Sunderland (2010)

Asamoah Gyan in action for Sunderland
Asamoah Gyan in action for Sunderland

Following 'that' infamous loss on penalties to Uruguay, Ghana exited the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the quarter-final. However, their run to the last eight drew the attention and admiration of fans and critics alike. One of their key stars at the tournament was Asamoah Gyan.

Gyan scored three goals and assisted one in five matches as the Ghanaians surprised many at the showpiece event. The centre-forward was then at Rennes, where he scored 13 goals and five assists in 30 matches during the 2009-10 season. While that was in itself impressive, it was at the World Cup that Gyan stole headlines, and several clubs were put on alert.

Sunderland eventually snapped up the striker for a club-record £13 million. Gyan scored on his debut, and managed a decent tally of 11 goals in 37 matches for them. But his stint proved short-lived, and he moved to Al-Ain in 2011 on loan.

Gyan eventually secured a permanent move to the club, but became a journeyman of sorts afterwards. Now 35, he is back in Ghana with Legon Cities.

#4 Mesut Ozil - Werder Bremen to Real Madrid (2010)

Mesut Ozil (centre) reacts during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Mesut Ozil (centre) reacts during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Mesut Ozil was viewed as a world-beater much before the 2010 FIFA World Cup began. But the tournament well and truly established the German as one of the most creative players in the game.

Ozil entered South Africa with the German national team after a stellar season with Werder Bremen in 2009-10. He scored ten goals and assisted an astounding 29 in 46 matches for the Bundesliga side. Several clubs were already said to be after Ozil, and he gave them all the more reason to be excited at the World Cup.

An established starter in the side, Ozil scored a goal and provided three assists as Germany made it to the last four. He was largely ineffective in the semi-final against eventual champions Spain, though, but impressed again as Die Mannschaft secured third place with a 3-2 win over Uruguay.

The tournament saw Ozil secure a bargain move to Real Madrid that summer, with Los Blancos paying just €15 million for his services. The German put up fabulous numbers for the Spanish giants, scoring 27 goals and assisting 80 in 159 matches before moving to Arsenal in 2013.

After an eight-year stint with the Gunners, Ozil is now in Turkey with Fenerbahce.

#3 Gilberto Silva - Atletico Mineiro to Arsenal (2002)

Gilberto Silva
Gilberto Silva

Gilberto Silva was a tremendous talent in his playing days. One of the many phenomenal players from early-2000s Brazil, the midfielder was absolutely impressive at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Silva played every minute of the Selecao's triumphant campaign as they lifted the World Cup for a record fifth time. The defensive midfielder, then contracted with Atletico Mineiro in Brazil, managed an assist while also protecting the rearguard with tact and physicality.

Silva's tremendous displays at the showpiece event saw him earn a transfer to Arsenal. Despite some initial issues with his visa and Atletico Mineiro, he moved to North London in the summer of 2002.

After a slow start to life in England, Silva proved to be an indispensable player in a stacked Arsenal squad. The Brazilian played a vital role in the Gunners' 2003-04 invincible Premier League season. Overall, Silva played 243 matches for Arsene Wenger's side, scoring 24 goals and assisting 13.

He is now the Director of Professional Football for Panathinaikos in Greece.

#2 James Rodriguez - Monaco to Real Madrid (2014)

James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez was undoubtedly the star of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The midfielder dazzled with talented Colombia side that reached the quarter-finals. Prior to the showpiece event in Brazil, Rodriguez managed ten goals and 14 assists in 38 matches for Monaco in the 2013-14 season.

At the World Cup, though, the Colombian was simply unstoppable. Rodriguez scored six goals and assisted two more, picking up the Golden Boot award in the process. He was also many critics' and fans' preferred choice for the Player of the Tournament award, which eventually went to Lionel Messi.

On the back of those stellar displays, Real Madrid came calling for Rodriguez's signature. He eventually completed a £63 million move to the Spanish capital, with expectations aplenty.

Despite a bright start to life in the Spanish capital, Rodriguez faded once manager Carlo Ancelotti departed in the summer of 2015. Successive managers found Rodriguez surplus to requirements, and he was shipped off to Bayern Munich. Overall, the Colombian managed 37 goals and 42 assists in 125 matches for Los Blancos.

Rodriguez is now with Everton, whom he joined last summer primarily due to Ancelotti being at the helm of the Toffees. In an unfortunate and rather comedic turn of events, he now finds himself under Rafa Benitez, who was also Ancelotti's replacement at Real Madrid back in 2015.

#1 Wayne Rooney - Everton to Manchester United (2004)

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

Arguably one of the greatest footballers of all time, Wayne Rooney was already viewed as a talent to watch our for before the commencement of Euro 2004. The then youngster enjoyed an impressive 2003-04 season at Everton, recording nine goals and an assist in 40 matches across all competitions.

Rooney produced fireworks at the European Championships for England. The forward scored four goals and assisted one in four matches. But the Three Lions crashed out to Portugal on penalties in the quarter-finals.

On the back of his performances at the Euros, Everton offered Rooney a lucrative deal with the knowledge that their star could still depart. The Englishman declined the offer and handed in a transfer request soon thereafter.

Rooney eventually joined Manchester United, where he went on to win a plethora of trophies. He remains the club's all-time top goalscorer, with 253 goals in 559 matches. Rooney also registered 146 assists before he returned to Everton in 2017.

He has since called time on his playing career, and now manages Derby County in the Championship.

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Edited by Bhargav
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