Juan Mata, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero made big-money moves in 2011. Their tranfers headlined a banner year in the market for male soccer players. International player transfers generated over $3 billion worldwide in 2011, according to FIFA.com.
The figures were published in a report prepared by FIFA Transfer Matching System GmbH. The first edition of the annual report, titled Global Transfer Market 2011, compiled data submitted by 5,000 clubs who conducted over 11,500 international player transfers last year.
The use of FIFA's Transfer Matching System became mandatory in October 2010, and last year is the first full year for which such information was available. The system requires buying clubs to send official documentation of the transfer fee and terms of the player's contract for transfer.
FIFA also said that over 1,500 Brazilian players moved to teams in new countries, keeping the country's players among the most in-demand in the world.
The system is limited to players who move to teams in different countries, so the lucrative transfers of Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres did not affect the numbers.