LONDON (AP) — A look at some previous landmark football transfers following Gareth Bale's move to Real Madrid:
Johan Cruyff - Ajax to Barcelona in 1973 for then $2 million.
The three-time Ballon d'Or winner became the first million-dollar player when he joined the Catalan side to be reunited with coach Rinus Michels. The move paid off as Barcelona went on to win the Spanish title for the first time since 1960 that season, and "Total Football" became the club's philosophy of play. Cruyff returned to Barcelona as a manager in 1988.
Diego Maradona - Barcelona to Napoli for then about $7.6 million in 1984
Napoli's rise to prominence coincided with the arrival of Argentine genius Diego Maradona after club president Corrado Ferlaino accepted to splash cash to bring "El Pibe de Oro" to the coastal Mediterranean city. Maradona helped the club win two Serie A titles in three years and the UEFA Cup. But his stint in Italy had a bitter ending as Maradona left the club after testing positive for cocaine.
Roberto Baggio - Fiorentina to Juventus for then about $13.6 million in 1990.
If there is something Juventus and Fiorentina share, it's certainly mutual contempt. Baggio's departure to Juventus in 1990 added fuel to the flames. For years, Baggio had been a fan favorite in Florence and a large section of ultras took to the streets to voice their anger when it appeared certain that their idol was being sent to Juventus. Dozens of people were injured in the riots but Baggio left, later saying: "Deep in my heart I am always purple," the color of Fiorentina.
Jean-Pierre Papin - Marseille to AC Milan for 10 million pounds (then about $19 million) in 1992.
By joining AC Milan, Papin arguably made the biggest mistake of his career. A star in Marseille, Papin was at the top of his game when he decided to leave the French league to follow in the steps of Michel Platini. In Italy, Papin struggled to adapt to the team and suffered various injuries. In 1993, he was a substitute during the Champions League final that Milan lost to... Marseille.
Alan Shearer - Blackburn to Newcastle for 15 million pounds (then about $24 million) in 1996.
Shearer was expected to join Manchester United following the 1996 European Championship but Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan managed to convince him to sign for the Magpies after a last-minute meeting. Shearer won the Premier League title with Blackburn but could not achieve better than runner-up with Newcastle in the 10 years he played for the club.
Ronaldo - Barcelona to Inter for then about $30 million in 1997.
After a short spell of just one year at Barcelona, the Brazilian great quickly adapted to the Italian style of play. His Inter years are among the best of his career, although his knee problems started in Italy and he only managed to win the UEFA Cup with the Nerazzurri.
Christian Vieri - Lazio to Inter for then about $50 million in 1999.
Vieri was meant to play alongside Ronaldo at Inter in a potentially electric pairing up front, but their partnership was more efficient in nightclubs than on the pitch. Vieri, however, scored 24 league goals in 23 games during the 2002-03 season but could not help Inter win the Scudetto.
Luis Figo - Barcelona to Real Madrid for $57.3 million in 2000.
Figo was a fan favorite after five years in Barcelona. He was treated as an infamous traitor after he left for the Santiago Bernabeu and faced a hostile reception every time he went back to play in Catalonia under his new colors. In 2002, as he attempted to take a corner, he was bombarded with various projectiles including a pig's head. Figo won the 2002 Champions League and the Spanish league title in 2001 and 2003 with Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane - Juventus to Real Madrid for then about $65 million in 2001.
Madrid got what they paid for with Zidane, one of the best "Galacticos" ever. Producing magnificent football week in week out, the Frenchman also scored arguably the best goal of his career — an exquisite volley — in Madrid's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final. The next season, he helped Madrid winning the Spanish league title.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United to Real Madrid for 80 million pounds (then about $130 million) in 2009.
A few weeks after signing Kaka for $86.7 million, Real pulverized the previous world-record transfer when they recruited Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger, until now the world's most expensive footballer, has been flourishing in Spain, scoring more than 50 goals in all competition every season over the past three years.