Modern footballers will regularly insist on having release clauses inserted in their contracts to enable them to leave for a set fee before the end of their deals.
In England, unlike elsewhere in Europe, release clauses are not compulsory but some players do currently have them in their contracts, including new Manchester City striker Erling Haaland. Marca reports that the Norwegian forward will be available for £170million in the summer of 2024, with his buyout fee dropping to £150million a year later.
However, those release clauses are some way short of the biggest in football, so here are the five highest release clauses in football today.
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Vinicius Junior & Marco Asensio – £598million
This list is dominated by players playing in Spain due to release clauses being compulsory for all players in La Liga. As a result, the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have placed extortionate price tags on their players to avoid the clauses being triggered.
Los Blancos wingers Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio both have clauses valued at £598million in their current deals, according to talkSPORT. However, Asensio is likely to leave for much less this summer with just a year remaining on his deal.
As for Vinicius Jr, he could see his release clause increase, with the club thought to be close to announcing that he has signed a new long-term contract.
Federico Valverde, Luka Modric & Brahim Diaz – £641million
Another string of Real Madrid players all have release clauses worth £641million, with Federico Valverde, Luka Modric and Brahim Diaz all set to cost any potential suitor more than half a billion to sign.
Diaz, however, is currently heading into the second half of a two-loan spell with AC Milan which does include a pre-agreed buy option considerably lower than his release clause.
Valverde and Modric remain integral to Real's midfield, though, with the latter extending his deal by a further year after last season's Champions League triumph.
Antoine Griezmann – £683million
The first Barcelona player to feature on this list, Antoine Griezmann is in fact currently on loan at fellow La Liga giants Atletico Madrid.
After joining Barca for £108million in 2019, Griezmann's contract included a release clause worth a whopping £683million but he again is unlikely to leave for this amount.
He returned to former club Atletico on a two-season loan deal last summer with Diego Simeone's side also having an option to make the deal permanent at the end of next season.
David Alaba – £726million
Versatile Austrian defender David Alaba ended his 13-year association with Bayern Munich last summer when he joined Real Madrid on a free transfer.
Included in his five-year deal was a release clause worth £726million if any club wishes to prise him away from the Santiago Bernabeu before the summer of 2026.
With a league title and Champions League win in his debut season in Spain, the size of the release clause has so far been justified.
Ansu Fati, Pedri, Karim Benzema & Ronald Araujo – £846million
A quartet of players from both sides of the El Clasico divide have the honour of having the biggest release clause in football.
Barcelona trio Ansu Fati, Pedri and Ronaldo Araujo are joined by Ballon d'Or frontrunner Karim Benzema in having release clauses worth £846million or €1billion.
Youngsters Fati and Pedri are seen as being integral to the future of Barcelona, with Araujo also having his release clause increased after signing a new deal in April, according to Sky Sports.
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