Skip to main content

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

By Chris Murphy, CNN
updated 3:35 PM EDT, Wed April 17, 2013
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
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT