Greatest free transfer XI of all time including Sol Campbell, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba on anniversary of Bosman

ON DECEMBER 15, 1995, football changed forever.

The European Court of Justice allowed footballers within the European Union to change team when their contract expired without a transfer fee being paid.

Jean-Marc Bosman, the man who successfully pushed for the ruling, failed to revive his career after the dispute that led to the lawsuit.

But many others have followed his lead and pulled off amazing free transfers that launched their careers.

From Paul Pogba to Robert Lewandowski, these Bosman transfers are a big part of any club's market dealings.

Here, SunSport reviews a line-up of the best-ever free transfers on the ruling's anniversary.

GK: Iker Casillas

Real Madrid were criticised for the lack of fanfare made at Iker Casillas' exit after almost two decades in the team.

But Porto were happy to pick up the pieces and the goalkeeper won a league title at Estadio Dragao before a heart attack prematurely ended his playing days.

RB: Cafu

Two-time World Cup winner Cafu had left an indelible mark on Roma when he ended a six-year spell to join AC Milan in 2003.

A Scudetto in the capital was added to by another in Milan before a Champions League crown rounded off a superb career.

CB: Sol Campbell

Having been offered a lucrative new Tottenham contract, England star Campbell took the stunning decision to sign for rivals Arsenal in 2001.

It was a decision that would anger Spurs fans for decades to come, with many labelling him 'Judas' – yet he would claim two league titles and two FA Cups at Highbury.

CB: Joel Matip

Top defenders rarely move on free transfers and certainly very few do so in their prime.

Yet Liverpool snapped up Schalke stalwart Matip in 2016 in a low-key deal, before he became an integral part of a side that won the Champions League and Premier League.

LB: James Milner

If there was some doubt over what Liverpool when getting when signing Matip, there were few more proven footballers than James Milner when he arrived.

The versatile star was a proper coup when landing from Manchester City and he has made his mark across the midfield and the defence for Jurgen Klopp's successful side.

CM: Andrea Pirlo

The archetypal free transfer success story of the modern era, Andrea Pirlo swapped Milan for Juventus in 2011 at the age of 32.

If anything, the mercurial Italian got even better as the deep-lying heart of the Old Lady midfield, and he collected seven trophies in four seasons.

CM: Paul Pogba

Pirlo once remarked that Juventus players spent Paul Pogba's first training session with the time in flood of tears – laughing at what Manchester United had let go.

The French youngster's decision to leave Old Trafford led to instant stardom in Italy before the Red Devils broke the transfer world record to sign him back four years later.

CM: Michael Ballack

German midfielder Michael Ballack arrived at Chelsea in 2006 amid a host of offers from Europe's giants.

Although his arrival coincided with the end of Jose Mourinho's first spell at the club, he became a true fan favourite and was prominent in six trophy wins and a run to the Champions League final.

RW: Jay-Jay Okocha

Jay-Jay 'so good they named him twice' Okocha led Bolton to Premier League safety in 2002 after signing from Paris Saint-Germain.

Along with the likes of Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo, the Nigerian trickster set the ball rolling on the Wanderers' golden age in the top-flight.

LW: Raul

There are pitfalls to signing a veteran legend of another team but Raul showed he was far from a has-been at Schalke.

Leaving Real Madrid for the Germans, he bagged 40 goals in two years as the club reached the Champions League semi-finals and won the DfB-Pokal.

ST: Robert Lewandowski

Bayern Munich are well-versed in snapping up top stars on the cheap and Robert Lewandowski was the finest of all their free transfers.

Bundesliga titles: 6. Champions League titles: 1. Total trophies: 15. Appearances: 305. Goals: 262. Arguably the best player in the world right now… Transfer fee: £0.

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