Pedri and Ansu Fati’s eye-watering €1BILLION release clauses are the latest in a long line of crazy football contracts… Real Madrid flop Dani Ceballos would cost £420m, while Erling Haaland can leave for just £67m – but who else has one?
- Pedri recently signed a new deal at Barcelona including a €1bn release clause
- Barcelona and Real Madrid in particular are known for including huge figures
- Bargains are still there, with Erling Haaland available for just £67m in 2022
- Sportsmail looks at some of the eye-watering figures involved in LaLiga
The bizarre world of release clauses reached a quite incredible new point recently when highly-rated midfielder Pedri and star forward Ansu Fati signed new five and six-year contracts at Barcelona.
Midfielder Pedri, 18, put pen to paper on a deal which includes an £846million (€1billion) release clause, having already played more than 50 times for his club and represented Spain at a Euros and Olympics.
And while team-mate Fati followed in his footsteps shortly afterwards with the same extortionate exit fee, there are still bargains to be had with one of the world’s most highly-coveted strikers – Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland – available for just £67m (€80m) next summer.
Pedri signed a new contract which includes a €1billion release clause at Barcelona this month
Ansu Fati followed his Barcelona team-mate, signing a new six-year deal soon after Pedri
Real Madrid and Barcelona both held talks with his agent Mino Raiola in the summer and should either look to sign him in 2022, they will no doubt look to tie him down to a long-term contract with a clause which no one in their right mind – besides Newcastle’s new owners perhaps – would go near.
Release clauses this high are a speciality for both LaLiga clubs, especially with the Catalan giants who, amid their financial turmoil, are desperate to keep hold of their academy talent at all costs.
So which other stars in LaLiga have had such eye-watering figures added to their contracts? Sportsmail takes you through some of the most breathtaking and peculiar release clauses at the Clasico clubs…
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, meanwhile, is available for just £67m next year
10. Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona – £338m (€400m)
We open our list with atwo Barcelona players who have – for various reasons – had limited impact during their careers at Nou Camp so far.
France winger Ousmane Dembele is another player after Pedri and Fati who reports claim will be offered fresh terms over the coming months, despite having a mixed and injury-hit career with the Catalan giants.
The pressure has always been on the forward ever since his £96m move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, when he signed a five-year deal involving a €400m release clause.
He has scored just 30 goals in 118 games but he has missed 98 matches for the club with various injuries too. The jury, therefore, remains out on the 24-year-old, with many hoping he will still come good in Spain.
Philippe Coutinho (L) and Ousmane Dembele (R) have struggled in injury-hits Barca careers
Team-mate Coutinho, 29, does not have time on his side but like the Frenchman, has seen injury and poor form overshadow his time in Spain following a £142m move from Liverpool in January 2018.
Just 25 goals in 100 games and a loan move to Bayern Munich have come in a torrid three-and-a-half years at the club, while suffering six separate injuries during that time too.
With less than two years left on his deal, he is unlikely to be kept on and the club will hope to sell the Brazilian soon, but it is clear from the whopping release clause that they had hoped for much more.
=9. Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique – Barcelona – £422m (€500m)
Two of the longest-serving members of the Barcelona squad are up next, but their equal release clauses will come as a surprise for many.
Roberto has – as many utility players before him – struggled to nail down one position and has therefore been deployed at right-back and in central midfield.
He will always be known as the scorer of THAT goal against Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, and in January the following year signed a new deal until June 2022 including the current release clause.
He is available for free in the summer but reports suggest he could stay by signing a fresh two-year contract soon.
Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto are two of the longest-serving Barcelona players remaining
Pique, meanwhile, is the club’s most high-profile centre-back and is a reminder of the good times at Barcelona too.
But the former Spain defender has taken it upon himself recently to help the club out, reportedly restructuring his deal for a second time after signing fresh terms initially in October last year.
That deal – which runs until 2024 and has seen him defer payments into later years – however is still thought to include a release clause of half a billion euros.
But having seen the likes of Lionel Messi leave, he may fancy one more move if Barcelona’s fortunes continue to nosedive. A fee far below his release clause would have to be negotiated.
=9. Dani Ceballos and Gareth Bale – Real Madrid – £422m (€500m)
A north London link and a peripheral role at best at Real Madrid for the majority of the last few years in Spain is not the only theme that connects Ceballos and Bale.
The Spain midfielder spent the last two seasons on loan at Arsenal, while the latter joined former club Tottenham on a season-long loan for the previous campaign.
In truth neither loan worked out particularly well despite Ceballos’ key role in Arsenal’s victorious 2020 FA Cup campaign, but with the duo at opposite ends of the spectrum they do share a common £422m release clause in their deals in Spain.
AS reported that Spain international Ceballos, 25, had the enormous figure inserted into his contract when he joined Los Blancos from Real Betis – who are now reportedly keen to take him back due to his lack of game time at the Bernabeu – on a six-year deal in 2017.
Bale, meanwhile, worked his way back into Carlo Ancelotti’s plans before suffering a long-term hamstring earlier in the season.
But the 32-year-old Welshman’s equal release clause is believed to have been inserted when he signed his last contract extension at the Bernabeu in October 2016, taking him through until June next year.
Dani Ceballos (R) and Gareth Bale (L) both have release clauses worth half a billion euros
7. Marco Asensio, Isco and Vinicius Jr – Real Madrid – £591m (€700m)
A real mish-mash of Real Madrid talent past and present involved in this next bracket of release clauses, with all three having had their issues despite their differences in age.
Isco, 29, has become a peripheral figure at Madrid and has started just two of his six LaLiga appearances this season after starting just eight league matches under Zinedine Zidane in the whole of 2020-21.
But four years ago, the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich were sniffing around a 25-year-old playmaker who was a crucial member of the first team and was about to enter his peak years as a professional footballer.
Isco had the release clause inserted as part of a new contract he signed four years ago
Madrid therefore tied him down to new five-year contract with a €700m release clause. However, ever since that new deal things have headed south for the 29-year-old, who is now nowhere near the Spain squad.
Injury has only ever ruled him out for a maximum of six games at the Bernabeu, but the same cannot be said for Marco Asensio, who missed 39 games in 2019-20 after rupturing a cruciate ligament.
He too has struggled for minutes though and his deal runs out in June 2023, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool having been linked with a move for the 25-year-old despite Ancelotti trying to find him a role in central midfield this season.
But despite his bit-part role at the club, Asensio’s release clause still stands at the same level at Isco’s, after agreeing to it when signing fresh terms in September 2017.
Marco Asensio (L) and Vinicius Junior (R) have the same release clause in their deals
That came off the back of an impressive U21 Euros for Spain, but he is now nowhere near Luis Enrique’s senior team.
One player who definitely has a future at Madrid, though, is Vinicius Junior.
Despite reports last month the 21-year-old is among the five lowest-paid players at the club, the deal he signed through to 2024 when he joined in 2018 still has that whopping figure involved.
The only hope at the Bernabeu is that he can deliver on his potential – unlike his team-mates in the same bracket – and with five goals already this term, there is confidence he can do just that.
4. Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric – Real Madrid – £633m (€750m)
The present and potential future of the club’s midfield is included in this list, with veteran Modric coming towards the end of a sublime career.
The 36-year-old Croatian signed a one-year extension in May this year to keep him at the club until next summer.
But despite being very much in the twilight of his career, he still remains at the core of the midfield and is believed to have retained the release clause that was added either when he joined in 2012 or when he extended for the first time in October 2016.
Malaga-born midfielder Diaz, meanwhile, finds himself currently in the second year of his three-season loan at AC Milan, just a couple of years after he joined Madrid from Manchester City.
The 22-year-old has only played for Madrid 21 times – scoring two goals in the process – but that did not stop Los Blancos including a massive release clause in his contract when he joined in 2019.
The next bracket involves Real Madrid’s present and future in midfield, Luka Modric (L) and Brahim Diaz (R)
3. Antoine Griezmann – Barcelona (on loan at Atletico Madrid) – £675m (€800m)
Another investment at Barcelona that simply did not work out, Griezmann re-joined former club Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan deal with an obligation to buy for £34.4m (€40m) last summer.
After the protracted histrionics on social media prior to his move to the Catalan giants in 2019 on a five-year deal, he has scored 22 goals in 74 LaLiga matches.
There was undoubtedly hope, however, that he would gel with Messi and Luis Suarez as part of a formidable attack, with his £108m move seeing him sign a deal with a €800m release clause inserted.
But the 30-year-old became the final one of the trio to leave Nou Camp in the summer, with the plan of seeing him as a long-term investment and member of the side well and truly a distant memory now.
Antoine Griezmann had a €800m release clause included in his deal when joining Barcelona
2. David Alaba – Real Madrid – £717m (€850m)
The Austria international has had huge shoes and a sizeable personality in the Real Madrid defence to replace following Sergio Ramos’ departure for PSG on a free transfer in the summer.
Alaba himself moved as a free agent after bringing a 13-year association with Bayern Munich to an end, and German outlet Der Spiegel brought the details of Alaba’s contract in Spain to light in July.
They claim Alaba will earn £16.46m (€19.47m) per season, with his contract expiring in 2026 and his release clause set at £717m (€850m). In the event he sees out his contract, they added he will earn £97m (€115m) in total.
Deployed both as a centre-back and more recently at left-back by Carlo Ancelotti, Los Blancos will be hoping he can deliver on the enormous financial investment they have made on Alaba by steering them to further domestic and European success.
David Alaba’s release clause, according to German outlet Der Spiegel, is set at €850m
1. Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) and Pedri and Ansu Fati (Barcelona) – £846million (€1bn)
Benzema has finally stepped out of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale-shaped shadows to undisputedly become the most influential player at Real Madrid.
The 33-year-old is now fifth on the list of all-time Real Madrid top goalscorers, with 290 goals coming in 572 appearances across all competitions.
Lionel Messi may have won last season’s award for LaLiga top goalscorer but it is Benzema who leads the way this term with nine already.
But just as the current campaign was beginning, Benzema signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2023 and which saw the insertion of a €1bn release clause, two months before Pedri signed his at Barcelona.
Karim Benzema matches Pedri’s release clause after signing fresh terms until 2023 in August
But as a four-time Champions League winner and three-time LaLiga champion, the Frenchman’s legacy continues to grow and the release clause and fresh terms are just the latest confirmation of that.
Federico Valverde’s stock has also continued to rise, with his versatility a key attribute used by the likes of Zidane and Ancelotti since his arrival from Penarol in Uruguay five years ago.
In 114 appearances since, he has scored five goals and he signed a two-year extension to his current deal until 2027 in August this year.
That saw the initial release clause of €500m incredibly double, making him the second Madrid player to be able to boast such a figure just a few days after Benzema had penned his new deal.
But Barcelona have followed suit, with Pedri signing after impressive displays at the end of last season and with Spain at the Euros and the Olympics.
Federico Valverde joined Benzema with a similarly stunning release clause just days later
Spain team-mate Fati, however, broke through into the first team in the 2019-20 season and his release clause automatically increased to £338m (€400m) from £143m (€170m).
That appeared to be justified after he scored five goals and laid on four assists in just 10 appearances at the start of last season, before he tore his meniscus in November 2020.
Four surgeries and 11 months later Fati was back on the pitch for his club, and duly scored on his return in a victory against Levante last month. He showed his worth with a stunning goal at Valencia and his presence was missed in the defeat by Rayo Vallecano earlier this week.
Barcelona view the duo as key to their future, and it would not be a surprise to see the likes of Nico and Gavi follow suit with huge release clauses of their own.
Barcelona have followed Real with huge release clauses for Pedri (L) and Ansu Fati (R)
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