10. Jay-Jay Okocha
Okocha became the most expensive African in football when he joined PSG, but the move didn’t work out, and he soon joined Bolton who were struggling with survival. Courtesy his flair and abilities in midfield; he helped Bolton with three top ten finishes and an EFL Cup final. He was a free agent when he joined Bolton, and it sure did help the Trotters immensely well.
9. Steve McManaman
It was not a good time when the Englishman joined Real Madrid on a free from Liverpool. But in spite of the struggle, McManaman was able to win two La Liga trophies and two Champions League titles with the Los Blancos. He is fondly remembered by the Madrid fans and is even listed as a legend on their website. He was released in 2003 when David Beckham signed for Madrid. Get our football betting tips here.
8. Roberto Baggio
It was rare that Baggio was not in demand, but the 30-year-old joined Bologna from AC Milan in 1997. His job was to help Bologna survive in the top division, but the Italian did more than that. He scored 23 goals in 33 games and helped Bologna finish at an impressive eighth position. His performance helped him earn a place in the national side and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or.
7. Michael Ballack
Ballack joined Chelsea on a free from Bayern Munich in 2006, rejecting an offer from Manchester United. He didn’t have the best of first seasons but bounced back very well the following season and went on to play for two more seasons, providing absolute class in the midfield. He was unlucky not to earn a contract extension at Stamford Bridge.
6. Paul Pogba
At Manchester United, a young Paul Pogba was getting frustrated with the lack of game time which instigated a free transfer to Juventus. It was with the Old Lady where the Frenchman unleashed his deadly potential. He made 178 appearances for Juventus, winning the Seria A 4 times and both the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia twice. It took a world record fee for United to get Pogba back from Juventus last season.
5. Sol Campbell
It was very displeasing for Tottenham fans to see Sol Campbell join Arsenal on a free in 2001. It did turn out to be a productive move for the Englishman as he went on to win two Premier League titles, 3 FA Cup titles and one Community Shield with the Gunners. He was part of the ‘Invincible’ squad that went without losing the entire season.
4. Esteban Cambiasso
Cambiasso joined Inter Milan for free from Real Madrid, and it was one of the best transfers ever. The Argentine Maestro helped the Italian club win the Serie A five times and was part of the historic treble won by Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho. It was amazing to see him play in the midfield as he spent ten years with Inter before moving on to Leicester City.
3. Andrea Pirlo
It was surprising how AC Milan let Pirlo leave on free to join rivals Juventus, but nonetheless, the Old Lady made full utilisation of the brilliant midfielder. Pirlo did fantastically well playing from deep midfield, winning the Seria A four times, along with 2 Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia before leaving the Old Lady in 2015.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swedish striker has been a phenomenal over the years, showing his quality at different clubs in different countries. After a fabulous spell at PSG, Zlatan joined Manchester United on a free last season to play once again under Jose Mourinho. The Swede scored 28 goals in all competitions at the age of 35, helping United win the EFL Cup, Community Shield and the Europa League in the process.
1. Robert Lewandowski
It was heartbreaking for the Dortmund fans to see their lead striker join their arch rivals Bayern Munich on a free in 2014. Lewandowski is arguably one of the best strikers in the world for quite long now. The Bavarians have been blessed with his clinical and sharp finishing up front. Lewandowski has won the Bundesliga thrice, along with the DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup and will be looking to win the Champions League now. It is rare to get a player of Lewandowski’s quality on a free that too from your arch rivals.