Manchester United and David Beckham continue to lead the Forbes lists of the most valuable teams and highest-paid players.
Arsenal are third behind Real Madrid but Barcelona have slipped one place to fifth, trailing behind German champions Bayern Munich in the renowned American magazine’s rankings which take income, profitability and debt levels into consideration.
England midfielder Beckham continues to dominate the list of highest-paid players thanks to recent endorsement deals with Pepsi and Electronic Arts.
His earnings last year were estimated at 40 million US dollars (£24m), ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (£23m) and Lionel Messi (£19m).
United, meanwhile, are valued at around £1.15billion topping the list for the seventh successive year with the Gunners worth £731million behind Spanish giants Real who are rated at around £911m.
Speculation continues to swirl that the club will be sold in the near future with a Qatari investment group said to be seriously interested, although the owning Glazer family insist they will not sell United, despite recording losses of £104m in the year to June 2010.
Two other Premier League clubs are in the top 10, with champions Chelsea rising from ninth to seventh place replaced by Liverpool who have dropped three slots from sixth as its value collapsed from £500m to £335m in the wake of the enforced sale to John W Henry’s Boston Red Sox ownership group last October in a deal worth £290m.
The Reds missed out on the lucrative Champions League this season which considerably dented their coffers and Kenny Dalglish’s side are unlikely to qualify for next season’s competition.
‘The top soccer teams that can consistently qualify for the big European tournaments are increasing in value in large part because they reaping the benefits of higher broadcasting and sponsorship revenue,’ said Forbes executive editor, Mike Ozania.
In a separate study released Wednesday, Barcelona and Real Madrid were shown to have overtaken the New York Yankees as the best-paid global sports teams.
The review of average first-team pay in 14 of the world’s leading sports leagues showed that was £4.8m at Barcelona and £4.5m at Real Madrid during the 2009-10 season.
Copyright 2011 by Suffian Yans