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Money bags Monaco splash out $90 million on Porto pair

updated 1:59 PM EDT, Fri May 24, 2013
Joao Moutinho (left) and James Rodriguez hold the Portuguese league title after Porto's 2013 triumph.
Joao Moutinho (left) and James Rodriguez hold the Portuguese league title after Porto's 2013 triumph.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • AS Monaco swoop for a pair of Porto players
  • Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez sign five year deals
  • Promoted Monaco pay $90 million for the duo
  • Monaco owned by Russian billionaire Dimitri Rybolovlev

(CNN) -- AS Monaco signaled their intention to use their financial muscle in the summer transfer window with an audacious double swoop Friday for Porto pair Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez,

Monaco, backed by Russian billionaire owner Dimitri Rybolovkev, will return to France's Ligue 1 next season after wrapping up the second-flight title, and other high profile signings are expected.

Portuguese champions Porto said the deal was worth 70 million euros ($90.6 million) with 21-year-old Colombian international striker Rodriguez valued at 45 million euros and midfielder Moutinho worth 25 million euros.

A statement on their website described the deal as the "biggest in Portuguese football history" and the club has made a profit of over 50 million euros from the original fees they paid for the players in 2010.

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Monaco confirmed that both had signed five-year deals.

The 21-year-old Rodriguez, who has helped Porto to three straight domestic titles, was reportedly a target for English Premier League champions Manchester United, while Moutinho nearly join their EPL counterparts Tottenham Hotspur last season.

Monaco, coached by Italian Claudio Ranieri, have also been linked with Atletico Madrid's Colombian striker Radamel Falcoa, who carries a 60 million euros price tag and is wanted by a clutch of Europe's elite clubs.

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With money apparently no object, the team from the principality, will look to rival the new French champions Paris-Saint Germain, who have Qatari backing, enabling to sign such names as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the now-retired David Beckham.

Monaco were regular participants in European club competition, reaching the final of the Champions League in 2004.

But a steady decline set in, culminating in their relegation to Ligue 2 in 2011.

Rybolovkev took over at the end of that year and has pumped in money to help the return quickly to the top flight under the stewardship of former Chelsea coach Ranieri.

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