As every football follower knows, the match is not over until the final whistle blows and the same is true of the summer transfer window, with clubs across the globe working frantically to seal their deals before that window slams shut. FIFA.com takes a look at the high-profile performers able to secure switches before yesterday's deadline elapsed.
Despite boasting a host of members of Spain’s FIFA World Cup™-winning squad and having claimed La Liga honours for the past two seasons, Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has still seen fit to add Liverpool’s combative Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano to his ‘Dream Team’. Moving on from the Camp Nou is striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who joins AC Milan on loan just one year after leaving city rivals Inter in favour of Barça. Aiding and abetting the flamboyant Swede at Milan will be Brazil international forward Robinho, out of favour at Manchester City.
The game of footballing musical chairs continued with Dutch goalgetter Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s departure from Milan to Schalke 04, where he will join forces with former Real Madrid team-mate Raul as well as gifted midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado, snapped up from Los Merengues’ neighbours Atletico. Also jetting in to the Bundesliga is French defender Mikael Silvestre, a member of Les Bleus’ squad which finished second at Germany 2006, who signed on the dotted line for Werder Bremen after his Arsenal contract expired.
Experienced USA midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, meanwhile, joins fast-starting Hanover - currently on two wins from two league games this campaign. Somewhat slower out of the blocks are rock-bottom Stuttgart, who will be looking for inspiration from veteran wide-man Mauro Camoranesi, a world champion with Italy in 2006, after his move from Juventus.
Yet this influx of talent has also led to notable exits from German shores, such as Bayern Munich’s Argentinian midfielder Jose Ernesto Sosa, who joins Serie A side Napoli after struggling to cement a regular starting berth since his arrival in 2007. Bosnian creator Zvjezdan Misimovic, an integral figure in Wolfsburg’s 2008-09 title triumph, leaves the Wolves for Turkish giants Galatasaray after his club’s signing of Juve’s Brazil schemer Diego.
Turning to England’s Premier League, Liverpool continued their active summer in the transfer market by moving swiftly to replace Mascherano with gifted Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles, a winner of four league titles with FC Porto since 2004. Another man with no shortage of medals is fleet-footed Belarusian Aleksandr Hleb, with the former Arsenal star looking for a fresh start at Birmingham City after failing to impose himself at Barcelona. However, perhaps the biggest coup of the last-gasp deals was pulled off by Tottenham Hotspur in the shape of Dutch attacking midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid.
Also touching down in England are Chilean flyer Jean Beausejour, who joins Birmingham from Mexican powerhouses Club America, and Icelandic legend Eidur Gudjohnsen, on loan at Spurs last season, who has once again been loaned out by French side AS Monaco – this time to Stoke City. Further exciting new arrivals come in the shape of France livewire Hatem Ben Arfa, loaned from Marseille to Newcastle United, and Ghanaian sharpshooter Asamoah Gyan, one of the stars of South Africa 2010, who joins Sunderland after two seasons in Ligue 1 with Rennes.
Another standout performer at this summer’s showpiece, Mexico defender Carlos Salcido, makes the switch to Fulham following a four-year spell at PSV Eindhoven. Going the other way is Wilfred Bouma, who leaves Aston Villa to rejoin a PSV side he left back in 2005, while also heading to the Eredivisie is ex-Tottenham and Sunderland midfielder Teemu Tainio of Finland, who joins Ajax Amsterdam. Another to bid farewell to the Premier League is Ecuador forward Felipe Caicedo, sent out on loan by Manchester City to Spanish outfit Levante, while Dutch target man Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink heads to Rapid Vienna after spending last season at Hull City.
Nor has there been a shortage of switches between English clubs, with Austrian defender Paul Scharner exchanging Wigan Athletic for West Bromwich Albion and Fulham left-back Paul Konchesky being reunited with former boss Roy Hodgson at Liverpool. Meanwhile, Blackburn Rovers have bolstered their attack with former Portsmouth striker Benjani, with the Zimbabwean having drifted out of the first-team picture at Manchester City.
Turning to Italy and, though slightly overshadowed by their big-name arrivals up front, AC Milan have sanctioned the departure of long-serving Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze to Genoa after nine seasons at the San Siro. Another to leave the Rossoneri is powerful front-man Marco Borriello, snaffled by a Roma side who have also managed to capture Inter’s Argentina defender Nicolas Burdisso, who spent last season on loan in the Italian capital and will share a dressing room with younger brother Guillermo. Uruguay’s Diego Perez, impressive in his country’s run to the semi-finals in South Africa, leaves Monaco for Bologna while Switzerland’s Gelson Fernandes, scorer of his side’s winner in the opening victory over eventual world champs Spain, is set to turn out for Chievo Verona.
Long-time Juve goal-poacher and 1998 world champion David Trezeguet, left out of France’s ill-fated 2010 FIFA World Cup™ adventure, leaves Italy’s Old Lady for ambitious La Liga outfit Hercules Alicante, while Dutch wide-man Royston Drenthe has joined the same club on loan from Real Madrid. Trezegol’s fellow French forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle, formerly of Recreativo Huelva and Atletico, returns to Spain with Zaragoza after a brief sojourn with Sporting Lisbon.
Already well-stocked up front, Sevilla have bolstered their backline with the signing of Uruguay’s Martin Caceres from Barcelona, while their Argentinian midfielder Aldo Duscher has joined Espanyol and the Ivorian Romaric has been loaned to Zaragoza. Racing Santander, following the loss of starlet Sergio Canales to Madrid and Mohamed Tchite to former club Standard Liege, will be boosted by the late captures of Swedish hitman Markus Rosenberg from Werder and Chile defender Waldo Ponce from Universidad Catolica.
In France, where Ligue 1 action has already been under way for nearly a month, Lyon and Nice still saw fit to make last-minute moves, with the former securing Senegal defender Pape Diakhite on loan from Dynamo Kiev, and the latter signing Grenoble’s Serbian attacker Danijel Ljuboja. And finally, Japan’s Daisuke Matsui has also said goodbye to Grenoble in favour of Russian side Tom Tomsk, where he could come up against Italy international Salvatore Bocchetti, purchased from Genoa by Rubin Kazan.