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Top 15 Players Who Made an Immediate Impact for Their New Club After Signing (2024)

Football’s transfer market is a stage for fresh starts and new beginnings. While some players take time to find their footing, others burst onto the scene with instant impact, leaving a lasting impression on their new clubs. These trailblazers shatter expectations, igniting a spark that propels their teams to new heights. Join us as we celebrate the most explosive debutants, whose rapid rise to prominence has etched their names in the annals of football history.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United

When Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in the summer of 2021, anticipation was sky-high. The Portuguese superstar, who had previously enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Old Trafford, wasted no time in reigniting his magic. Scoring crucial goals and providing leadership both on and off the pitch, Ronaldo’s impact was felt from day one, reminding fans why he is considered one of the greatest players of all time.

2. Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund and Manchester city

Erling Haaland’s arrival at Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 sent shockwaves through the footballing world. Despite his young age, the Norwegian striker hit the ground running, immediately showcasing his incredible goal-scoring prowess. With blistering pace, strength, and clinical finishing, Haaland quickly became the focal point of Dortmund’s attack, propelling them to victories with his remarkable performances.

3. Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United

Signed by Manchester United in January 2020, Bruno Fernandes wasted no time in transforming the club’s midfield. The Portuguese playmaker injected creativity, vision, and goals into the team, elevating their performance to new heights. With his ability to dictate the tempo of the game and unlock defenses with his pinpoint passes, Fernandes became an instant fan favorite and a driving force behind United’s resurgence.

4. Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappé’s move to Paris Saint-Germain from AS Monaco in 2017 was met with high expectations, and the French forward delivered in spectacular fashion. His electrifying pace, dribbling skills, and composure in front of goal immediately made him a key figure in PSG’s attack. Mbappé’s ability to single-handedly change the course of a game cemented his status as one of the brightest talents in world football.

5. N’Golo Kanté – Chelsea

N’Golo Kanté’s transfer to Chelsea from Leicester City in 2016 proved to be a masterstroke. The diminutive French midfielder’s tireless work rate, impeccable tackling, and ability to break up opposition attacks provided the perfect balance to Chelsea’s midfield. Kanté’s impact was instrumental as Chelsea went on to win the Premier League title in his debut season, earning him widespread acclaim as one of the best midfielders in the world.

6. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk’s move to Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 proved to be a game-changer for the Merseyside club. The Dutch defender brought solidity, leadership, and aerial prowess to Liverpool’s defense from the moment he stepped onto the pitch. Van Dijk’s presence instilled confidence in his teammates and played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s defensive transformation, culminating in Champions League and Premier League triumphs.

7. Zlatan Ibrahimović – AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to AC Milan in January 2020 saw the charismatic striker pick up right where he left off. Despite being in the twilight of his career, Ibrahimović showcased his enduring quality by spearheading Milan’s attack with his lethal finishing and unmatched charisma. His leadership on and off the pitch revitalized the team, inspiring them to push for success in both domestic and European competitions.

8. Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez’s transfer to Manchester City from Leicester City in 2018 brought a touch of flair and creativity to Pep Guardiola’s side. The Algerian winger’s dribbling skills, vision, and ability to score crucial goals added a new dimension to City’s attacking play. Mahrez’s impact was felt in key moments, as he played a significant role in City’s Premier League title triumphs and domestic cup successes.

9. Alisson Becker – Liverpool

Alisson Becker’s arrival at Liverpool in 2018 addressed a long-standing issue for the Reds – their goalkeeping woes. The Brazilian shot-stopper’s commanding presence, exceptional shot-stopping ability, and distribution skills immediately bolstered Liverpool’s defense. Alisson’s reliability between the posts provided the defensive stability needed for Liverpool to compete at the highest level, contributing to their success in domestic and European competitions.

10. Lionel Messi – Inter Miami

Lionel Messi made an unforgettable impact for Inter Miami when he joined the club in 2022, winning them their first title in the history of the club, the Leagues Cup, in 2023. His exceptional skills, leadership, and vision on the field inspired the team to new heights, and his influence extended beyond the pitch, bringing a new level of excitement and attention to the club. Messi’s arrival marked a turning point for Inter Miami, transforming them into a force to be reckoned with in Major League Soccer. His legacy continues to inspire and motivate the team, and his impact will be remembered for years to come.

11. Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham’s debut season at Real Madrid has been nothing short of sensational. With 18 goals and 4 assists in La Liga, along with 3 goals and 4 assists in the UEFA Champions League, his impact on the team’s success cannot be overstated. Bellingham’s exceptional performances have propelled him to the forefront of the Ballon d’Or race, a testament to his remarkable talent and contribution to Real Madrid’s campaign. As the season progresses, all eyes will be on Bellingham as he continues to dazzle on the field and vie for football’s most prestigious individual award.

12. Neymar – PSG

Neymar’s first season at PSG in 2017/2018 was very successful, with him scoring 28 goals and 16 assists in 30 games. He also earned 400 million euros in his first season at PSG, thanks to numerous commercial contracts and the impact he had worldwide when moving to Paris.

13. Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger has impressed in his debut season, bringing stability and leadership to the backline. He scored crucial goals against Mallorca and Shakhtar Donetsk, helping Real Madrid secure important points and advance in competitions. A valuable addition to the team, Rudiger has quickly become a fan favorite.

14. Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona

Robert Lewandowski made a sensational debut at Barcelona, scoring an impressive 33 goals in his first season after joining the club. His remarkable performance not only showcased his elite striking capabilities but also played a crucial role in Barcelona securing the LaLiga title and the Super Copa trophy. His immediate impact highlighted his status as one of the top forwards in the world, making him an invaluable asset to his new team.

15. Cole Palmer – Chelsea

Young midfielder Cole Palmer has made a remarkable start to his Chelsea career, leaving a lasting impression on the team’s performance. Since joining the Blues, Palmer has scored a memorable hat-trick against Everton and converted a penalty in the same game. He also provided a crucial assist and scored another goal in a thrilling 3-2 win over Newcastle, bringing a newfound maturity to the Chelsea squad. Palmer’s impact has been instrumental in securing points against top teams like Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester City. His instant impact has been a breath of fresh air for Chelsea, and fans are eagerly anticipating his future contributions.

HONORABLY MENTION

Antoine Rudiger — Real Madrid

Robert Lewandowski — FC Barcelona

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