Skip to main content

At $3.3bn Real Madrid usurp Man Utd as world's most valuable club

By Chris Murphy, CNN
April 17, 2013 -- Updated 1935 GMT (0335 HKT)
Real Madrid have usurped Manchester United as the world's most valuable soccer club according to Forbes. The Spanish giants, whose star player is Cristiano Ronaldo, increased their value by 76% over the past year to $3.3 billion.
Real Madrid have usurped Manchester United as the world's most valuable soccer club according to Forbes. The Spanish giants, whose star player is Cristiano Ronaldo, increased their value by 76% over the past year to $3.3 billion.
HIDE CAPTION
Real Madrid - the world's most valuable club
2. Manchester United
3. Barcelona
4. Arsenal
5. Bayern Munich
6. AC Milan
7. Chelsea
8. Juventus
9. Manchester City
10. Liverpool
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid are the world's most valuable football club according to Forbes
  • Spaniards claim top spot from English club Manchester United for first time
  • Real's value increased by 76% over the past year to stand at $3.3 billion
  • Barcelona are ranked third in the list, Arsenal fourth and Bayern Munich fifth

(CNN) -- Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid increased the value of their club by 76% over the past year to usurp Manchester United as the world's most valuable football team.

A study by financial experts Forbes found that Real Madrid's value now stands at $3.3 billion, knocking the English Premier League champions elect off the top of the list for the first time since the study began in 2004.

Confounding the increasingly difficult economic conditions in Spain, Real, managed by Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, have increased revenues to $650 million.

Their operating income of $134 million is second only to the $227 million amassed by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, which is the highest of all sports teams.

Read: Bayern continue domestic domination

World's best-paid soccer stars

1. David Beckham (PSG) -- $50.6m

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) -- $43.5m

3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) -- $40.3m

4. Sergio Aguero (Man City) -- $20.8m

5. Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) -- $20.3m

6. Yaya Toure (Man City) -- $20.2m

7. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) -- $20.2m

8. Neymar (Santos) -- $19.5m

9. Kaka (Real Madrid) -- $19.3m

10. Didier Drogba (Galatasaray) -- $17.8m

Manchester United, on the brink of securing a record 20th English top flight title, increased their value by 42% to $3.17 billion, according to Forbes.

Despite dropping to second behind Real, United have boosted revenues with a share issue and by signing bumper sponsorship deals.

Their seven-year shirt sponsorship deal with U.S. car giant Chevrolet is worth $559 million while an eight-year agreement with insurance firm Aon is thought to be worth $230 million.

All England's top flight clubs have been boosted by an increase in television revenue with the combined domestic and overseas rights having the potential to top $6 billion, Forbes say.

Real's arch rivals Barcelona are third on the list with a value of $2.6 billion, English club Arsenal lie fourth on $1.32 billion while German champions Bayern Munich sit fifth on $1.3 billion.

The top 20 clubs, all but one of which are European, are worth an average of $968 million, which is up 26% on last year.

David Beckham, who now plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain, is again the best-paid soccer star with earnings of $50.6 million while Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is second on $43.5m. Barcelona's Lionel Messi is third on $40.3m.

Forbes say they value teams by calculating their "enterprise values (equity plus debt) that are based on multiples of revenue that teams garner from television, premium seating, media, licensing, merchandise and concessions."

But speaking to CNN, sports business expert Simon Chadwick questioned the relevance of measuring value in this way.

"Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona are all in the top-10 list of the most indebted clubs in the world, even if their revenue streams are healthy and strongly established," he said.

Ronaldo: 'I have bad image on pitch'
José Mourinho: 'I hate my social life'
David Beckham's life in Paris

"The implication of measuring value in this way seems to be that many clubs in the top-10 are simply buying their success by signing players, building debt and winning trophies.

"It will be interesting to see the extent to which the UEFA Financial Fair Play initiative moderates valuations in coming Forbes league tables."

UEFA's new rules are designed to make Europe's clubs live within their means and attempt to break even each year, though there is an allowance for debt in the initial stages of their strategy.

Chadwick believes the figures underline just how immune soccer is to the financial difficulties being experienced in Europe. He says the upward spiral shows no signs of abating.

"While football clubs clearly have tremendous financial value and commercial potential, some of the figures being reported here are staggering," he added.

"For Real Madrid to almost double its financial value in 12 months is incredible, especially set against the backdrop of economic austerity (particularly in Spain) and competition from other sports and industrial sectors.

"If these figures are a truly accurate and rigorous measure of value, then they are stunning. Even at the top-end of the game, clubs are relatively underdeveloped as commercial entities.

"With changes in management practice, a stronger commercial emphasis, and global marketplace development, then one can only speculate how much further the value of top clubs might increase."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT