Real Madrid Passes Manchester United, Tops Forbes’ List of World’s Most Valuable Soccer Teams

Nani and Cuneyt CakirReal Madrid knocked Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League in March. The Spanish giant passed its English counterpart off the field in April.

Real Madrid has overtaken United to become the world’s most valuable soccer club. American financial magazine Forbes released the newest version of its annual list which ranks the most valuable clubs, and Real tops it for the first time.

“Real Madrid, which posted revenue of $650 million during the 2011-12 season, is worth $3.3 billion [£2.15 billion], more than any team in the world,” Forbes reports. “Los Merengues generated operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and player trading) of $134 million, more than any soccer team and second only to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys ($227 million) among all sports teams.”

United had topped the list every year since rankings began in 2004. Forbes estimates that the Premier League club is $3.17 billion (£2.07 billion).

Third on the list is FC Barcelona, which is worth around $2.6 billion (£1.7 billion). Forbes says the value of the Spanish club doubled in the past year because it was able to turn its on-field success into lucrative new sponsorship deals.

Arsenal and Bayern Munich round out the top five.

The remaining teams in the top ten come from England and Italy. Chelsea (ranked seventh), Manchester City (ninth) and Liverpool FC (10th) represent the Premier League, while AC Milan (sixth) and Juventus (eighth)  lead the way in Italy’s Serie A.

Forbes says the values of top soccer clubs are steadily increasing.

“According to this year’s soccer valuations, the top 20 teams are worth an average of $968 million (£634 million), an increase of 26 percent over last year.”

Real Madrid, United and Barcelona are the three most valuable teams in the world — in any sport. The New York Yankees ($2.3 billion) and Dallas Cowboys ($2.1 billion) trail the three soccer giants on that list.

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