Real Madrid is the world’s most expensive club

2014-05-11 15:00

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Spanish football reinforced its dominance off the field with its two biggest clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, taking top honours on Forbes’ list of the most valuable soccer teams in the world.

Real Madrid, the nine-time European champions, top the list released this week. Forbes values the club at $3.4?billion (R35.7?billion ), and Barcelona follows closely at $3.2?billion.

During the 2012/13 season, Real ­Madrid generated revenue of $675?million, the most generated by any team or any sport in history, according to Forbes.

Barcelona upped its revenue by 23% to $627?million.

What propelled the Spanish teams ­into top positions was not only their Champions League prize money, but their success in securing sponsorship deals, Forbes reported.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez’s ­savvy deal making saw Real Madrid sign a $52?million-a-year kit deal with sportswear brand Adidas.

It also struck a $39?million-a-year shirt sponsorship with Emirates, the Middle East airline group led by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

It should go a long way towards helping the club pay salaries of football megastars Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas, who reportedly earn $22.6?million and $8.2?million a year, respectively, excluding sponsorship and endorsement deals.

Ronaldo holds the bragging rights as the most expensive player in history, with Real paying $129?million to snatch him away from Manchester United during the 2009/10 season, according to Transfermarkt.

Barcelona has made similar deals – a $44?million-a-year kit deal with Nike and a $45?million-a-year shirt deal with ­Qatar Airways. Its biggest star, Lionel Messi, has scored 41 goals for the club in the 2013/14 season, and is just behind ­Ronaldo with an annual salary of an ­estimated $14.5?million.

Third on the list is the poorly performing Manchester United, worth $2.8?billion – 11% less than a year ago.

Bayern Munich, the German powerhouse, came fourth, rising 41% in value to $1.85?billion, and its revenue ­amounted to $561?million.

In 2012, the Bundesliga team extended its shirt sponsorship deal with Deutsche Telekom through to 2017 for an ­average value of $42?million a year, the highest secured by a German team.

Positions five, six and seven go to English teams Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, respectively.

Arsenal is worth $1.3?billion, and Chelsea is valued at $868?million – a 4% fall from the previous season.

Chelsea spent £50?million (R875?million) on the nonperforming Fernando Torres, £20?million more than the cost of the entire Spanish Atlético Madrid team that kicked Torres’ team out of the Champions League.

Manchester City, at seventh, saw its valuation rise by 25% to $863?million.

The Sky Blues could be slapped with a significant £50?million fine from football association Uefa for failing to comply with Financial Fair Play guidelines.

It might fall a few places down the list, regardless of whether or not it wins the Premier League title.

Juventus, the Italian Serie A champion, was up 22% to $850?million, taking the number nine spot on the list.

This was slightly behind AC Milan, which dropped 9% to $856?million.

Liverpool, number 10 on the list, which has done well this season, is valued at $691?million.

Although Champions League prize money and uniform sponsorship deals often determine the pecking order of wealth, each league’s representation on the Forbes top-10 list is also underpinned by the size of its domestic broadcasting deals.

Five of the top 10 most valuable soccer teams are from the Premier League, which gets $2.6?billion a year from TV rights. The next richest league deal is $1.3?billion a year for Italy’s Serie A, which has five teams among the top 20.

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