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Real overtake Man United as world's richest club
Updated: 2006-02-16 08:57

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Real Madrid have overtaken Manchester United to become the richest club in world soccer, ending the English club's eight-year reign at the top.

The Football Money League report published by consultants Deloitte on Thursday also shows that commbined revenues from the game's top 20 earning teams broke through the three billion euros ($3.57 billion) barrier for the first time. Real's income of 275.7 million euros ($328.2 million) for the 2004-05 season saw the club's revenue grow 17 percent year-on-year, dislodging United (246.4 million euros) from top spot for the first time in the report's nine-year history.

Much of Real's success was down to the Spanish club capitalising on the global appeal of players like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, and Ronaldo, the report said.

"Real have transformed their revenues, doubling them in only four years," said Deloitte partner Dan Jones.

"Although president Florentino Perez's strategy of recruiting world class `galactico' players has not necessarily delivered the anticipated on-pitch results recently, their presence has facilitated a transformation in the club's financial performance," he added.


Italy's AC Milan remained third on 234 million euros, while Serie A rivals Juventus, who clinched their 28th scudetto last season, were next after seeing a seven percent rise in revenue despite having the lowest average attendance in the top 20.

English champions Chelsea, bought and bankrolled by Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich since July 2003 slipped a place to fifth with 220.8 million after being last year's highest climbers.

Barcelona, who play Chelsea in the Champions League knockout phase next week, moved up a place after a 23 percent rise in revenue, helped by winning the Spanish title and despite continuing to resist taking any lucrative shirt sponsorship.

The remaining top 10 places are filled by Bayern Munich (189.5 million euros) European champions Liverpool (181.2), Inter Milan (177.2) and Arsenal (171.3)
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