Manchester United have retained their crown as the word’s leading football club for revenue generation, according to an annual league table.
According to the Money League, compiled by Deloitte, the club is being chased down by the two richest sides in Spain – with Real Madrid overtaking Barcelona in the chasing pack in the 2016/17 rankings.
The league is determined by revenue generation, with United netting £581.2m over the 12 months compared to £515.3m in the previous season.
The report said winning European football’s second-tier club championship, the Europa League, was “critical” to Jose Mourinho’s side coming out on top for a second year as they picked up €44.5m from UEFA in the process.
Image: Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are currently behind leaders Manchester City in the current Premier League season
Real won both the Champions League and La Liga titles in the season – helping them leapfrog rivals Barca to achieve revenues of £579.7m and £557.1m respectively.
All the top 20 clubs are European but Premier League sides dominate – largely a result of broadcast revenues from the three-year £5.1bn TV rights deal with Sky, the owner of Sky News, and BT.
Manchester City and Arsenal were 5th and 6th while Chelsea and Liverpool also featured. The are 10 Premier League sides in the top 20.
Deloitte said the gulf of just £1.5m between the top two clubs was the smallest recorded by its team.
Image: Leicester make the list because Champions League revenue boosted domestic income last season
Combined revenue for the top 20 sides grew 6% to a new record sum of €7.9bn (£6.94bn).
Dan Jones, a partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business group, said: “European football continues to flourish financially, with almost half a billion euro of revenue growth for the top 20 Money League clubs.
“United’s ability to retain first position is all the more impressive against the backdrop of the weakened pound against the euro, and with both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona forecasting further revenue growth in 2017/18, the battle at the top will likely come down to on-pitch performance again next year.
“With all three clubs through to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, it may be as simple as the club that goes furthest in the competition will have the best chance of topping the Money League next year.”
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:: The top 20 clubs as determined by revenue in 2016/17:
:: 1 Manchester United £581.2m:: 2 Real Madrid 579.7m:: 3 FC Barcelona £557.1m:: 4 Bayern Munich £505.1m:: 5 Manchester City £453.5m:: 6 Arsenal £419m:: 7 Paris Saint-Germain £417.8m:: 8 Chelsea £367.8m:: 9 Liverpool £364.5m:: 10 Juventus £348.6m:: 11 Tottenham Hotspur £305.6m:: 12 Borussia Dortmund £285.8m:: 13 Atletico de Madrid £234.2m:: 14 Leicester City £233m:: 15 Internazionale £225.2m:: 16 Schalke 04 £197.8m:: 17 West Ham United £183.3m:: 18 Southampton £182.3m:: 19 Napoli £172.5m:: 20 Everton £171.2m