Jean Marc Bosman
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Coral’s top 10 Bosman signings in light of 20th year anniversary

| 16.12.2015

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | December 14, 2015

Coral’s 10 most high-profile Bosman transfers

On the 20th anniversary of when the Bosman ruling came into effect, when players could freely move from clubs at the end of their contracts, Coral find 10 of the most famous footballers who have benefited from this.

Little-known Belgian midfielder at the time Jean-Marc Bosman changed the face of the game after a five-year court battle, and players have much to thank the now 51-year-old for.

Roberto Baggio

UEFA European Club Soccer - Bologna v Inter Milan

We start off with one of the earliest high-profile Bosman transfers, former Italy hero Roberto Baggio from AC Milan to Bologna in 1997. The striker couldn’t repeat his scoring exploits at Fiorentina and Juventus with the Rossoneri and so decided to move onto Bologna, with whom he got 22 goals for in 30 Serie A appearances, earning him a move to Inter Milan and a recall to the national team.

Michael Ballack

Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Chelsea v Portsmouth - Wembley Stadium

Goalscoring midfielder Ballack is one of Germany’s finest ever stars, but in 2006 decided he’d had enough of being accused by former Bayern Munich icons of not giving his all in certain games, and so moved onto Chelsea (2/1 for a top six PL finish) for free. Despite being 30 years old at the time, the Blues got four solid years out of him and he gained five major trophies with them.

Esteban Cambiasso


Another legendary midfielder, Cambiasso is recently known for his free transfer to Leicester City, for whom he played a big part in saving them from the drop last season. However, it was his Bosman to Inter from Real Madrid that firmly puts him on this list. The Argentine spent a decade at the San Siro, winning five Serie A titles, a Champions League and many other domestic cups.

Sol Campbell


Perhaps the most controversial Bosman transfer goes to Campbell in 2001, when he swapped Tottenham for bitter North London rivals Arsenal. It turned out to be a wise decision personally as he won four major trophies, but Spurs fans have never forgiven the ex-England centre back.

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson

Swedish striker Larsson was never his prolific self in his two years with Barcelona, following his free transfer from Celtic in 2004, but was still a key squad player for the Catalans, and helped them to Champions League and double La Liga successes.

Robert Lewandowski

Bayern Munich vs FC Cologne

Still arguably yet to reach the peak of his powers at the time, it was a bitter blow for Borussia Dortmund to lose their prolific Polish poacher for nothing to Bundesliga rivals Bayern in 2014. The Bavarians have highly-profited, though, with Lewandowski firing them to league success last year.

Fernando Llorente

fernando llorente

Athletic Bilbao surprisingly let Big Basque frontman Llorente’s contract go into its final year, and Juventus snapped at the chance to add him to their impressive attack. The Spain international helped the Turin team to two Serie A titles and Champions League final appearance, before moving on to Sevilla (14/1 to defend the Europa League).

Gary McAllister

Soccer - One2One FA Charity Shield - Liverpool v Manchester United

Not many players can claim iconic status at a club after only spending two seasons with them and at the age of 35, but Scotland midfielder McAllister achieved that after moving for free from Coventry City in 2000. He was a big part in their treble-winning (FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup) season in 2000/01.

Steve McManaman

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool’s McManaman was another controversial Bosman switch, as he turned down a contract with the club that created him in favour of moving to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1999. Like Campbell, his decision was justified personally, as he won two Champions League and La Liga trophies apiece, among other domestic titles, and is a cult hero over there.

Andrea Pirlo

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Juventus v Barcelona - Olympiastadion

Last, and certainly not least, midfield magician Pirlo was supposedly past his peak in 2011, so Milan decided to let the now-Italy centurion go to Juventus. How wrong they were, as Juve and Pirlo’s rise coincided with the Rossoneri’s decline.


Check out more from our extensive trivia section, as well as our football archive.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.