Old Trafford, Manchester
Image Source: Sean MacEntee
The revenue gap between the top two clubs was just £1.5m

Football Money League: European sides close in as Manchester United top ranking

Manchester United are still the biggest club in the world by revenue, according to new data.

In professional services giant Deloitte’s latest Money League, United retained the number one spot with revenues of £581.2m in its 2016/17 year – but two other European clubs were found to be closing in.

Real Madrid came second place with a £579.7m revenue to overtake Barcelona, which pulled in £557.1m over the 12 months.

The Deloitte report said MUFC winning the Europa League was “critical” to the club coming first for the second year running, as it netted them an additional €44.5m from UEFA.

Similarly for Real Madrid, the Spanish side won both the Champions League and La Liga titles in the 2016/17 season, which ultimately lifted them above rivals Barca.

The top 20 clubs in the Money League are all European, but Premier League sides continue to dominate with 10 clubs represented. Manchester City came in fifth place and Arsenal in sixth. Also featured were Chelsea and Liverpool.

The combined revenue of the top 20 grew by 6% in comparison to last year’s findings, coming in at around £6.94bn.

Deloitte said the £1.5m gap between the top two sides is the smallest recorded in the Money League to date.

Deloitte Sports Business group partner Dan Jones 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.”

He continued: “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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