Ronaldinho, Beckham, Rooney: Who was the most valuable footballer in 2004?

Ronaldinho is one of the greatest footballers in history

Football went a bit mental in the year 2004.

Arsenal finished a Premier League campaign unbeaten, Jose Mourinho's FC Porto defied all the odds to triumph in the Champions League and Greece shocked the world by winning Euro 2004.

It's crazy to think that it's been over 17 years since all that madness unfolded and the sport has changed so much since.

Back in 2004, the idea of a player being valued at €100 million or more was alien, but that's certainly not the case now.

At the time of writing, seven footballers currently possess a valuation equal to or more than that nine-figure sum over on Transfermarkt.

It's quite astonishing really, especially when you factor in that the most valuable player on the planet in 2004 was worth only €50 million.

That's how much the world's most popular sport has evolved from a financial perspective.

Transfermarkt's feature detailing the 25 most valuable footballers in 2004 highlights that perfectly, with legendary names sitting beside figures that seem like mere pennies in the modern era.

But don't just take our word for it, check out the evidence for yourself below:

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25. Gennaro Gattuso (AC Milan) | €25 million

24. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) | €25 milliom

23. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid) | €25 million

22. Kaka (AC Milan) | €26 million

21. Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona) | €27 million

Eto'o with Barcelona

20. Emerson (Juventus) | €28 million

19. Pavel Nedved (Juventus) | €28 million

18. Gianluca Zambrotta (Juventus) | €28 million

17. Adriano (Inter Milan) | €30 million

16. Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich) | €30 million

Ballack with Bayern

15. Didier Drogba (Marseille) | €30 million

14. Ricardo Carvalho (FC Porto) | €30 million

13. Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid) | €30 million

12. Michael Owen (Real Madrid) | €30 million

11. Alessandro Nesta (AC Milan) | €33 million

Nesta with AC Milan

10. Patrick Vieira (Arsenal) | €35 million

9. Francesco Totti (Roma) | €35 million

8. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan) | €35 million

7. Jose Antonio Reyes (Arsenal) | €35 million

6. Wayne Rooney (Everton) | €37 million

Rooney with Everton

5. Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United) | €40 million

4. David Beckham (Real Madrid) | €40 million

3. Ronaldo (Real Madrid) | €45 million

2. Thierry Henry (Arsenal) | €45 million

1. Ronaldinho (Barcelona) | €50 million

Ronaldinho with Barcelona

Zidane for €25 million and a young Kaka for just €26 million?! Imagine how much that pair would be worth today...

Even €50 million for Ronaldinho would be bargain central in 2021, given that the likes of Fred and Naby Keita have cost more than that in recent years.

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