Many years ago, there was no such thing as a 'free agent' in football, as the clubs held all the aces. Interested parties had to pay clubs a fee to sign a player, even if the footballer was out of a contract.
That all changed in 1995 when Belgian footballer, Jean-Marc Bosman, won a case against RFC Liege, as the club held him back from a move to French club Dunkirk. Bosman's contract had expired in 1990, but both clubs couldn't come to an agreement. That left the player stranded and at the mercy of Liege.
The legal battle lasted for years, but the Belgian finally won the case in 1995. The Bosman rule was birthed, but the player spent the prime of his career in court rather than on the football pitch, and his career didn't benefit from the ruling.
However, countless footballers have benefited from the rule, earning millions of dollars from their new clubs due to the transfer fee being circumvented, as players now negotiate to have all that extra money paid to them directly.
In recent times, we have seen the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot complete free moves to Italian giants Juventus, with Ander Herrera swapping rainy Manchester for the bright lights of Paris for free as well.
In this article, we discuss the top 5 Bosman transfers in history.
#5 Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich to Chelsea)
Michael Ballack was at that time the captain of the German national team, and he had dominated the Bundesliga in the colours of Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, becoming German footballer of the year in 2002, 2003, and 2005.
In the blue colours of Chelsea, he continued to dazzle, winning numerous trophies, including an English Premier League medal and 3 FA Cup titles. In 167 appearances for the London club, he provided 24 assists and scored 25 goals.