Football is not only the worlds most dominant sport, but it has evolved financially as football clubs and players came to be seen as global commodities. In modern football, in order to be the best, you have to assemble the best team.
A recent example is the acquisition of New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie by Mamelodi Sundowns, for a staggering reported fee of R14-million. The transfer certainly adds to the already powerful Sundowns arsenal, but it also weakens the team's direct opponents, which means they have a stranglehold on the league.
Take a look at five teams monopolising football with mega-purchases of star players from around the world.
1. Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
In football, you're either a selling club or a buying club, and Sundowns is one of Africa's most powerful clubs when it comes to getting a player they want. Owned by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, the team can exercise their dominance in the transfer window and get the best players -- at the expense of their rivals.
When you have such dominance, the chasing pack often fall short in competing, because they do not have the depth, firepower and money to compete with the mega-clubs. Sundowns have signed a lot of high-profile players from their direct rivals, including Teko Modise in 2011.
Here are some of Sundowns' most high-profile signings, and the trophies they have won after the acquisitions:
Jeremey Brockie - from SuperSport United - reported fee R14-Million⚽️
2016 CAF Champions League, 2016 ABSA Premiership, African Club of the Year 2016, South African Team of the Year 2016, PSL Team of the Season 2015-16, 2013-14🏆
2. Real Madrid (Spain)
The team known as "Galacticos" ("superstars" in Spanish), Real Madrid is world-famous for buying the best players for stupendous fees. Under Florentino Prez, the Spanish team would buy at least one megastar per season.
Ultimately, their approach to being the best in the world by buying instead of grooming young talent in their academy has paid off. They are the most successful team in Champions League history with 12 titles, while in 2017 they won five trophies in a season, showing just how powerful "Los Blancos" are.
Here are Real Madrid's most expensive players in history:
2017 Spain Super Cup, 2017 Uefa Champions League, 2017 LaLiga, FIFA Club World Cup, 2017 UEFA Super Cup🏆
3. Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Neymar da Silva Santos Jr officially became the world's most expensive footballer –– and the priciest sports star in history –– in 2017, when he was signed by French club Paris Saint-Germain for a record fee of around R3.5-billion (£197-million) from Barcelona.
With PSG going all-out to get the player they wanted, the football market fluctuated ridiculously. With Neymar's massive transfer price could open the door for more overpriced players. Players are now going to cost clubs £100-million plus, which calls into question whether any players are actually worth that price tag.
Congratulations, Neymar, you're the most expensive player of all time...by a lot. 💰😳 pic.twitter.com/TtDFehRRlQ— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 3, 2017
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho summed up the transfer market: "You are going to have more players of £100-million and £80-million and £60million. I don't think the problem is Neymar; it's the consequences."
With a hefty price tag to his name, can Neymar live up to that price tag? Will he ultimately become the world's best player in years to come?
Whether he does or not, PSG has strengthened their stranglehold on French football's Ligue 1 –– with the help of Qatar Sports Investments.
4. Manchester City (England)
Prior to the acquisition of Manchester City by billionaire Sheikh Mansour, the only famous club in world football from Manchester was Manchester United. Since the Mansour bought the club, he has given City a facelift and made them one of the best football teams in England.
City are known for buying from their direct rivals, and have perhaps sometimes overspent on players with hefty price tags. But as a result of their transfer spending, they have since won two Premier League titles.
In 2017, Manchester broke the world record twice, buying two of the most expensive defenders in football history –– when they acquired Benjamin Mendy for R852-million and Kyle Walker for R757-million. Here are City's most expensive players according to TransferMarket:
5. Manchester United
The 2017 football transfer window saw the British record broken at £75-million (~R1.3-billion). The role that social media plays in such transfers is growing, as the dynamics of the business of football evolve.
United broke the British transfer record by signing Romelu Lukaku for £75-million. Lukaku's price tag may seem crazy –– until you consider that he scored 25 league goals in the 2016/17 season for Everton, and that United were in dire need of a superstar striker following the injury of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
All in all, United broke the British transfer record not only in an attempt to remain the best club in Britain, but also in the hopes of making them the best in the world.