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Real Madrid Richest Soccer Club in the World

According to the new figures released by the accounting firm Deloitte, Real Madrid remain the richest club in world football as ranked by annual revenues, closely followed byManchester United. Having won the Premier League and Champions League in 2008, United would have overhauled the Spaniards at the top of the Deloitte Football Money League had it not been for the depreciation of the pound.

And were it not for the effects of the fluctuation in the exchange rate, there would be nine English clubs in the top 20 rather than the seven that feature now. It has been suggested that the devaluation of the pound could even affect the ability of the top English clubs to attract the biggest names to the Premier League.

“Whilst Real Madrid’s 4% revenue growth in 2007-08 is more modest than in recent years, the club has now doubled its revenues since 2002 and enjoys a lead of €41m [£36.8m] over Manchester United,” said Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte. “With the club having announced that it is budgeting for revenues of €400m in 2008-09, it will be difficult for rivals to replace Real at the top of the Money League next year.”

Real Madrid increased revenue by €15m to take their total to €366m. Manchester United’s performances on the pitch in 2007-08 resulted in a £45m (21%) increase to £257m. Third-placed Barcelona grew its revenue by €19m (6%) to €309m.

The table is based on published revenue figures and does not take into account how much debt a club has. Some European clubs have been disparaging about the level of debt that some English clubs, such as Chelsea and Manchester United, are carrying.

But Jones said football was now in the unusual position of having more certainty than other businesses with TV revenues guaranteed and season-ticket sales likely to remain stable. He predicted that sponsorship revenues would also hold up with Manchester United’s search for a replacement for AIG likely to provide a barometer. Only corporate hospitality revenues are threatened to any large extent. “The debt issue gets quite a lot of coverage but I think that most of the clubs are in a position to cope with it,” said Jones.

This year’s figures may come to be seen as a high water mark in terms of the financial clout of top clubs in Europe, reflecting revenues for the 2007-08 season before the full impact of the global economic downturn became clear.

However, Deloitte predicts the biggest clubs would remain relatively resistant to the downturn, pointing to the certainty provided by recent television deals. Less optimistic analysts expect the impact on attendances to become more pronounced towards at the start of next season as fans decide whether to renew season tickets.

European clubs

The other English clubs in the top 20 are Tottenham Hotspur (14th), Newcastle United (17th) and Manchester City (20th).

All the top 20 clubs represent Europe. Germany and Italy have four clubs each in the top 20, Spain and France have two clubs each. 

Alan Switzer, Director in the Sports Business Group, says:

“Bayern Munich is the biggest climber in this year’s top 10, moving up to fourth position.  Despite not competing in the Champions League, revenues were boosted by the club acquiring 100% ownership of its home ground, the Allianz Arena.

“Fenerbahce and VfB Stuttgart, two of the three new entrants ‘promoted’ into the Money League, gain their top 20 position as a result of the significant revenue boost from competing in the Champions League.  The other new entrant, Manchester City, secured 20th position largely due to the increase in broadcast monies received from the Premier League, in the season prior to the arrival of the club’s Abu Dhabi based owners.”

Celtic, Valencia and Werder Bremen dropped out of the Money League, while Stuttgart and Manchester City climbed back. The top 20 clubs’ collective revenue rose by 6% to 3.9bn euros in 2007/08.

The Deloitte Football Money League – 2007/08 revenue


(prior year
Club Revenue (£m) Revenue (£m)
1 (1) Real Madrid 289.6 365.8
2 (2) Manchester United 257.1 324.8
3 (3) FC Barcelona 244.4 308.8
4 (7) Bayern Munich 233.8 295.3
5 (4) Chelsea 212.9 268.9
6 (5) Arsenal 209.3 264.4
7 (8) Liverpool 167.0 210.9
8 (6) AC Milan 165.8 209.5 
9 (11) AS Roma 138.9 175.4
10 (9) Internazionale 136.9 172.9
11 (12) Juventus 132.6 167.5
12 (13) Olympique Lyonnais 123.3  155.7
13 (16) Schalke 04 117.5 148.4
14 (10) Tottenham Hotspur 114.8 145.0
15 (15) Hamburger SV 101.3 127.9
16 (19) Olympique de Marseille 100.4 126.8
17 (14) Newcastle United 99.4 125.6
18 (n/a) VfB Stuttgart 88.3 111.5
19 (n/a) Fenerbahce 88.1 111.3
20 (n/a) Manchester City 82.3 104.0