Manchester United topped Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s most valuable soccer club with an estimated value of $2.24 billion, a 20 percent increase on last year. David Beckham was again ranked the richest player.
United, owned by U.S. billionaire Malcolm Glazer and his family, was followed by record nine-time European Cup winner Real Madrid, which is valued at $1.87 billion, Forbes said on its website. European champion Barcelona was third at $1.30 billion, a 34 percent rise.
Forbes determined its valuations by combining its own review of financial documents and interviews with sports bankers with Deloitte LLP’s annual “Football Money League” report, which in February ranked Real Madrid as the richest club by sales ahead of Barcelona and United.
United, which has a five-point lead atop the Premier League as it seeks a record-extending 20th English league title, has headed up the list every year since Forbes began calculating valuations for soccer teams in 2004.
The club’s worldwide fan base of about 330 million also helps make the Red Devils the most valuable team in any professional sport, worth $385 million more than Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, Forbes added.
The average value of the 20 teams on the list increased by 20 percent to $770 million, while operating income rose 13 percent to an average of $45 million, according to Forbes.
London-based Arsenal, at $1.29 billion, and Germany’s Bayern Munich are the only other clubs to have a valuation of at least $1 billion.
Beckham, a former United and Real Madrid midfielder now playing with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, retained his spot atop the best-paid players’ list with $46 million in 2011 from salary, bonuses and endorsements, Forbes said.
Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo is second at $42 million, ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who was named as soccer’s best player for the third straight year in January, on $39 million. United striker Wayne Rooney is fourth on the list with $24 million.
FORBES TOP 20 SOCCER TEAMS BY VALUE SEASON, 2010-11 =================================================== CLUB VALUE (USD MILLIONS) 1. Manchester United 2,235 2. Real Madrid 1,877 3. Barcelona 1,307 4. Arsenal 1,292 5. Bayern Munich 1,235 6. AC Milan 989 7. Chelsea 761 8. Liverpool 619 9. Juventus 591 10. Schalke 587 11. Tottenham 564 12. Inter Milan 490 13. Manchester City 443 14. Borussia Dortmund 394 15. Lyon 385 16. Hamburg 355 17. AS Roma 354 18. Marseille 349 19. Valencia 288 20. Napoli 283 FORBES TOP 10 RICHEST SOCCER PLAYERS, SEASON 2010-11 ==================================================== PLAYER EARNINGS (USD MILLIONS) 1. David Beckham 46 2. Cristiano Ronaldo 42 3. Lionel Messi 39 4. Wayne Rooney 24 5. Kaka 21 6. John Terry 18 7. Yaya Toure 18 8. Fernando Torres 17 9. Frank Lampard 16 10. Steven Gerrard 16
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