LONDON: Spain’s Real Madrid has overtaken England’s Manchester United to become the richest soccer club in the world. Real’s income of 275.7 million euros for 2004-2005 dislodged United with its 246.4 million euros, thus ending the English club’s eight-year standing at the top.
The Football Money League report published by consultants Deloitte Thursday revealed that the income of the world’s top 20 soccer clubs exceeded three billion euros for the first time.
The Spanish club capitalised on the presence on its side of internationals like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, the report contended. Deloitte partner Dan Jones said Real has transformed its revenues, doubling them in just four years.
He said: “Although president Florentino Perez’s strategy of recruiting world class `galactico’ players has not necessarily delivered the anticipated on-pitch results recently, their presence has facilitated a transformation in the club’s financial performance.”
Third in the list of super rich clubs is Italy’s AC Milan with 234 million euros, followed by Juventus and Russian oil czar Roman Abramovich-owned Chelsea of England. The others in the order of their revenues are Barcelona, Bayern Munich, European champions Liverpool, Inter Milan and Arsenal.
The report predicted that French and German teams would move up the wealth ladder in the next few seasons.
Deloitte’s sports business consultant Austin Houlihan said Real Madrid has broken the mould in terms of revenue growth in football and it is its ability to grow commercial revenue that has guided it to the top of the Money League. The club has not won a major trophy for the second straight year.
The report said: “The mainstay of Real’s revenue growth is not match-day revenues, as we have seen in many of the U.K. clubs, or broadcasting revenue, as we have seen — and continue to see — in Italy, but strong progress in realizing their commercial potential.” Commercial revenue including sponsorship, merchandising and licensing contributed 45 per cent of the club’s total income.
The report said Manchester United’s revenue fell because of a reduction in broadcast income. It had exited from the Champions League at the first knockout round.
Jones said Beckham has been a major factor in Real’s show. “You can’t put a figure on his impact but there is no doubt having big-name players makes an impact and he’s the most famous footballer in the world.”