The Spanish club has retained the only crown that seems to matter to some football clubs these days, revenue generation - with Manchester United and Real's Spanish rivals Barcelona coming second and third. But thanks to the falling value of the pound, United is quite right to say ‘we was robbed' - the club would have pipped Real if the pound hadn't depreciated so much against the euro.
According to Deloitte's Football Money League, each of the three top-ranking clubs generated revenues in excess of €300m in the 2007/08 season. Madrid's revenue grew 4% to €366m (£290m), which represents a slowing of growth, but a doubling of revenue since 2002. Real earned €41m more than United, who benefited from triumph both at home and in Europe last year, securing them a 21% increase in revenue to £257m, or €325m.
The Telegraph has also pointed out that, when United's long-standing sponsorship deal with Nike is taken into account, it would actually beat Madrid in the rankings, which are based on the club's lower group turnover figure. This would make United the first British club to break the £300 million turnover barrier.
United is joined in the money list by Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool - in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively - and Spurs (14th), Newcastle United (17th) and Manchester City (20th). This shouldn't come as a surprise, any more than the national team's 2-0 drubbing by slick European champs Spain last night. The Premier League is famously the richest league in the world, thanks to its global popularity, savvy marketing and myriad TV deals. Indeed, it has just secured record deals for live domestic broadcast rights for the seasons 2010/11 to 2012/13, which will bring in £1.782bn. Back of the net.
These figures are, of course, based on the season before the downturn hit. Football clubs tend to be resilient - supporters' affections run deep, and the long-term TV revenues provide a degree of security. But while the bean-counters may be waving their scarves right now, the fate of the wider economy should serve as a warning. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are all heavily reliant on the generosity of their backers. United has total debts of £667m, and Liverpool's American owners have a refinancing deadline with RBS in July.
Meanwhile wages are vastly over-inflated, and you never know when these mega-rich benefactors might lose interest. Chelsea's Roman Abramovich was rumoured to be doing so recently, although his sacking of beleaguered boss 'Big' Phil Scolari suggests otherwise. It only takes a withdrawal of these limitless funds, and a string of lesser results, to bring the whole thing back down. Then we're back to jumpers for goalposts...
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Spanish football's finest beat England in earnings too
Kellogg's is, like, out of order, man