While free agent Lionel Messi has been dominating the headlines after his previous contract with Barcelona FC expired on Wednesday, it’s worth noting that the 2021-22 summer transfer window has a plethora of serial winners who have run out of contracts and are available for free.
The conclusion of the 2020-21 European football season spelt the end of numerous top footballers’ associations with clubs that they served and won titles with for a lengthy spell. From Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos to AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, there are plenty of top players who are on the market for free in the summer transfer window.
Here is a list of the top five footballers, who can be signed for free during this transfer window.
The former Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC and Paris Saint-Germain defender is looking for a new club. The 34-year-old Brazilian defender has won one Premier League as well as a UEFA Champions League title with Chelsea and two Ligue 1 titles with PSG. A centre-back who excels in long-range passing, David Luiz's most successful stint came with Chelsea where he scored 18 goals and provided 12 assists. He also has more than 50 caps for the Brazil national team.
The former Real Madrid skipper is probably the most decorated name on this list. In his 16-year-long glittering career with Los Blancos, Sergio Ramos won La Liga five times and the UEFA Champions League four times. With the Spain national football team, Ramos has won the FIFA World Cup once and the UEFA Euro Cup twice. He also boasts 104 club career goals and 40 assists. Having played alongside some of the best footballers, Ramos is the biggest free agent available in the transfer market at the moment.
Yet another FIFA World Cup winner who is looking for a club is Germany's Jerome Boateng, whose contract with Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich ended last month. With two UEFA Champions League winners medals and nine Bundesliga titles to his name, the 32-year-old veteran can be an enormous addition to any club. The robust centre-back also scored 10 goals and provided 25 assists during his time with Bayern.
A proven striker in the most competitive leagues in Europe, Diego Costa is another prominent name on this list. The 32-year-old Spaniard had severed his ties with current La Liga winners Atletico Madrid in January earlier this year and has since been searching for a new club. Diego Costa has won two Premier League, two La Ligas and one UEFA Europa League title in what’s been a glittering career. The robust centre-forward, who scored 83 goals for Atletico and 58 goals for Chelsea, still remains a lethal option for upfront.
The most promising name on this list, Gianluigi Donnarumma is just 22-year-old and has 30 caps for the Italian national football team already. An AC Milan academy product, Donnarumma burst onto the scene in 2015 when his steady reflexes and shot-stopping ability between the sticks drew a lot of attention. The towering shot-stopper has since grown in stature and is currently the second-best custodian in UEFA Euro 2020 after England's Jordan Pickford in terms of goals conceded.
Featured photo: AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU