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AC Milan’s 10 biggest sales of all time

Aloisio Hernández
Kaka, AC Milan
© IMAGO

AC Milan are of the most recognisable clubs in European football and they have been a powerhouse in Italy for a long time.

The best team in world football during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Rossoneri have continued to pick up domestic and European titles into the 21st century, with some of the word’s best players pulling on the famous red and black stripes.

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As well as signing some of the world’s best down the years, Milan have also sold some top talents for some huge transfer fees.

Below, FootballTransfers runs through Milan’s 10 biggest sales of all time.

10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – €21m (to PSG, 2012)

A two-time Scudetto winner with Inter, Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Milan from Barcelona in 2010, with an initial loan move becoming permanent a year later.

The Swedish superstar won the league in his first season at the club and then scored 28 goals in 32 games in his second campaign, earning him a move to PSG as they were beginning to build their empire in French football.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action for PSG
© ProShots – Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action for PSG

Zlatan was outstanding in France, scoring 38 goals in his final Ligue 1 season, which made the €21m Milan received for him look nowhere near enough, especially given they had parted with €30m in total fees to sign him.

Ibra made a fairy tale return to San Siro in 2020, sensationally scoring 33 goals in 60 Serie A matches across three seasons with the Rossoneri and leading them to their first Scudetto in 11 years. He retired in 2023 at the age of 41.

9. Suso – €21.7m (to Sevilla, 2020)

After struggling to make it into the Liverpool team in the early 2010s, Suso signed for Milan in January 2015 for next to nothing.

A 22-year-old at the time, Suso went on loan to Genoa 12 months later and broke into the Milan side thereafter, becoming a key player for three seasons.

But a disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign saw him loaned to Sevilla, where he would win a Europa League before making the move permanent in a €21m deal in the summer of 2020.

8. Francesco Coco – €22.5m (to Inter, 2002)

Francesco Coco did what many players wouldn’t dare to do when he crossed the Milan divide by leaving AC to join Inter for €22.5m in 2002.

The left-back had spent the previous year on loan at Spanish giants Barcelona and his time in Spain convinced Inter to cough up a substantial fee for his services.

Coco, a Milan academy graduate, left the club with 79 appearances and two Serie A titles to his name.

7. Lucas Paqueta – €23.4m (to Lyon, 2020)

Touted as the next Kaka, Lucas Paqueta arrived at Milan for a huge fee from Flamengo in January 2019.

The Brazilian was 21 years old at the time, and the weight of expectation appeared too strong for him as he only lasted a season and a half at San Siro, scoring just one league goal in 37 games.

Lucas Paqueta joined West Ham in 2022
© ProShots – Lucas Paqueta joined West Ham in 2022

Lyon presented Paqueta with a new opportunity, and he joined the Ligue 1 club for €23.4m in 2020. The move was inspired and Paqueta earned a place in Brazil’s national team set-up during his time at the club.

He left Lyon to join West Ham United in 2022.

6. Krzysztof Piatek – €24m (to Hertha Berlin, 2020)

For a brief period of time, Krzysztof Piatek was one of European football’s most in-form strikers, striking fear into Serie A defences.

The Polish forward left his home country for Genoa in 2018 where he scored 13 goals in just half a season, earning an immediate move to Milan in the January transfer window.

Piatek scored a further nine league goals in the six months after making that move, but quickly lost his touch the following season, scoring only four times in 18 games.

That prompted another January move, with a loan switch to Hertha Berlin eventually becoming permanent for €24m in 2020.

5. Leonardo Bonucci – €35m (to Juventus, 2018)

In one of the most bizarre transfer ordeals in recent memory, Leonardo Bonucci left Juventus for Milan in 2017 in a shock €42m move.

Having formed an incredible defensive partnership with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, Bonucci turned his back on the Old Lady and was immediately made captain of Milan.

Leonardo Bonucci in action for Milan
© ProShots – Leonardo Bonucci in action for Milan

Bonucci played 35 Serie A games and scored against Juve, but his stint at Milan wasbrief and ill-fated. The centre-half handed in a transfer request the following summer and he returned to Juventus for €35m, leaving Milan slightly red-faced and €7m worse off.

4. Thiago Silva – €42m (to PSG, 2012)

In the same window that Milan lost Ibra to PSG, Thiago Silva made the same move for twice the price, arriving at Parc des Princes for a fee of €42m.

The Brazilian wore the captain’s armband for the Rossoneri but left the club as he reached his prime, continuing his development to become one of the world’s best centre-backs at PSG.

Silva had signed a five-year contract extension at Milan just two weeks prior to the transfer being completed and had affirmed his desire to remain at the club.

However, Carlo Ancelotti ultimately raided his former club and convinced Silva to join PSG, with the Brazilian spending eight years in Paris before a free transfer to Chelsea in 2020.

Thiago Silva joined Chelsea in 2020
© ProShots – Thiago Silva joined Chelsea in 2020

3. Andriy Shevchenko – €43.9m (to Chelsea, 2006)

Ukraine legend Andriy Shevchenko was still in top form for Milan when he joined back-to-back Premier League champions Chelsea for €43.9m in 2006.

Milan signed Shevchenko as a 23-year-old from his boyhood club Dynamo Kiev, with a €24m fee indicative of the promise he was showing in his career at that early stage.

Shevchenko became one of the world’s best No.9’s during his time at San Siro but never matched it at Chelsea, scoring just nine Premier League goals in 48 games.

The Ukrainian would return to Milan on a one-season loan deal but he didn’t score in 18 games before finishing up his career back at Dynamo.

2. Sandro Tonali – €64m (to Newcastle, 2023)

This was a move that came out of the blue and blindsided the Rossoneri as boyhood fan Sandro Tonali surprisingly left the San Siro to join Newcastle United.

The midfielder was supposed to be the second coming of Andrea Pirlo, and was expected to spend the rest of his career with Milan, but the Magpies acted swiftly and brought Tonali to the Premier League in a deal worth €64m, a record for an Italian player.

Sandro Tonali, Newcastle
© ProShots – Sandro Tonali, Newcastle

However, just months into his time at Newcastle, Tonali was banned from football for 10 months after breaching betting rules.

1. Kaka – €67m (to Real Madrid, 2009)

Real Madrid went on an absurd spending spree in the summer of 2009, signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema and Kaka in a historic transfer window.

The latter arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu for €67m, a particularly large fee at the time, after six glory-filled years at Milan.

Kaka won Serie A and the Champions League at Milan, as well as the 2007 Ballon d’Or during his time at San Siro.

The Brazilian wasn’t quite as influential at Real Madrid, with Ronaldo taking centre-stage, and he eventually returned to Milan four years later, but he wasn’t the same player and the Rossoneri weren’t the same team.

The 10 biggest Milan sales of all time

Player To Fee Year
1. Kaka Real Madrid €67m 2009
2. Sandro Tonali Newcastle €64m 2023
3. Andriy Shevchenko Chelsea €43.9m 2006
4. Thiago Silva PSG €42m 2012
5. Leonardo Bonucci Juventus €35m 2018
6. Krzysztof Piatek Hertha Berlin €24m 2020
7. Lucas Paqueta Lyon €23.4m 2020
8. Francesco Coco Inter €22.5m 2002
9. Suso Sevilla €21.7m 2020
10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic PSG €21m 2012

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