Serie A boasts some of the finest talents in the world. Known to be one of the most tactical leagues around, several big names have been groomed in Italy. Serie A has possessed this tag for a while too - in the early 2000s, the Italian top-flight was home to the best players of the era.
Who are Serie A's most expensive exports?
While Serie A boasts several legendary clubs, most players' ambition is to play in the Premier League or for Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Understandably the top players are highly-valued by the selling clubs, and the purchasing clubs are forced to fork out exorbitant sums.
The most expensive sales from Serie A have been ranked in the following list, which could not have been more star-studded.
#5 Kaka (AC Milan to Real Madrid - €67 million)
Kaka is recognized as one of the most gifted players of the 21st century. Predominantly an attacking midfielder, he was a part of the Brazil side which won the 2002 World Cup. He moved to Serie A with AC Milan from Sao Paulo in 2003, and slotted into an attack consisting of players of the caliber of Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi.
Following 14 goals and seven assists in his debut season, Kaka was already a fan favorite at the San Siro. In the 2006-07 season, the Brazilian reached the pinnacle of football - winning the Champions League with AC Milan and subsequently the Ballon d'Or in 2007. His contribution to the Champions League campaign was sensational as he scored 10 times and picked up three assists in 13 appearances.
Kaka's career was progressing smoothly in Serie A - until Florentino Perez was elected as Real Madrid president. He promised a blockbuster signing, delivering on his promise by acquiring Kaka from AC Milan for €67 million in the summer of 2009. Kaka's debut season in 2009-10 was not his best, as he scored nine times and notched up 12 assists in 33 appearances.
The following season saw him struggle with injuries as he was restricted to just 20 appearances in all competitions. 2011-12 was probably his most successful in terms of appearances for Real Madrid, making 40. Along the way, he scored eight goals and assisted 16 more.
In total, Kaka has made 120 appearances for Los Blancos, scoring 29 times and picking up 39 assists. However, ahead of the 2013-14 season, Kaka returned to AC Milan in Serie A on a free transfer.
Four years since his massive €67 million move, the exciting Brazilian returned to the team where he enjoyed most of his success. He announced his retirement in 2017 after spells with Sao Paulo as well as Orlando City FC.
#4 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter to Barcelona - €69.5 million)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a famous name in the world of football. Known for his fiery and confident personality, the 39-year-old striker is widely remembered for his incredible 30 yard overhead kick for Sweden against England. He is also remembered as a player who has played for a number of top sides; banging in goals everywhere he went.
The Swede's first stint in Serie A came with Juventus in 2004 after joining the Old Lady from Dutch club Ajax. However, ahead of the 2006-07 Serie A season, Ibrahimovic joined Inter from Juventus. He scored 15 goals en route to the title.
Ibrahimovic followed this up with two more Serie A titles, making it three in three. In the 2008-09 season, he also picked up the top scorer award after scoring 25 goals in the league.
Joan Laporta, who was the president of Barcelona back then too, brought Ibrahimovic to Camp Nou in 2009 for a fee of €69.5 million. Samuel Eto'o went the other way, joining Inter. Ibrahimovic's debut season saw him score 21 times across all competitions, while also picking up 13 assists.
However, a strained relationship with manager Pep Guardiola saw Ibrahimovic back in Serie A for the 2010-11 season, this time with Inter's rivals AC Milan. Upon his return to Italy, the striker continued his winning streak as he won his first Scudetto with AC Milan, and his fourth in total. The following season saw him claim the Serie A top scorer award once again, scoring 28 goals.
Subsequent spells at PSG, Manchester United and LA Galaxy saw Ibrahimovic continue his fine goalscoring record. He returned to Serie A in 2020 once again with AC Milan.
At the age of 39, he's still crucial to the team, scoring 15 goals in Serie A in 2020-21. To this date, his transfer to Barcelona remains the 4th most expensive export from Serie A.