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Real Madrid again top money maker

Barcelona still No 2 in Deloitte's Football Money League

[SINGAPORE] When it comes to raking in the cash in the world of football, no one seems to do it better than the top two teams in Spain.

Real Madrid retained its coveted status as the world's highest-earning football club for a record ninth straight year, while its heated rival Barcelona remained second in the latest Deloitte Football Money League rankings.

Despite not winning a trophy last season, Real Madrid managed to rake in revenue of 518.9 million euros (S$904.9 million) thanks to a bevy of sponsorship and TV deals.

It was also a good year for Bayern Munich, which enjoyed its most successful campaign in 2012/13 by winning a league, German Cup and Champions League treble.

The Bavarians, as they are popularly known, pipped Manchester United to bag third spot after recording an 18 per cent increase in revenue to 431.2 million euros.

Bayern's ascendency meant that the Red Devils dropped a notch to fourth, the first time the defending English champion has finished outside the top three since the start of the Money League in 1997.

It has been a poor first season for Manchester United's new manager, David Moyes, with his team already eliminated from England's two domestic cup competitions and 14 points off the pace in the English Premier League (EPL).

While it has been faring poorly on the football field, the team's financial outlook remains healthy due to the improved EPL broadcast deals and other major commercial agreements.

All this, however, could change if the Red Devils don't qualify for next season's Champions League and beyond, said Austin Houlihan, senior manager at Deloitte's sports business group.

"Beyond (this season), consistent qualification for the Champions League is key in United challenging to regain top spot in the Money League, a position it last held in 2003/04," he said.

Failure to seal a spot in each season of the Champions League could result in a loss of about 50 million euros, which works out to be about 10 per cent of Manchester United's revenue.

Of the five other English clubs in Deloitte's top 20, it is United's next-door neighbours Manchester City that has fared best.

The in-form Citizens, owned by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, improved one place to sixth. Deloitte cited Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways as "the centrepiece of its commercial success".

Paris Saint-Germain is the fastest climber in this year's Money League, claiming the highest-ever position for a French club. It is the country's sole representative in this year's top 20.

Turkey's Galatasaray and Fenerbahce rose to 16th and 18th respectively, becoming the first teams from outside leagues in England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France to enter the top 20 since the 2005-06 season.

Overall, the combined revenue of the top 20 clubs went up 8 per cent to 5.4 billion euros, which Deloitte noted was a rate "far outpacing the wider global economy".