Real and Barcelona still richest in Europe but Man City making strides

ENGLISH clubs may have just blown record sums in the January transfer window, but they continue to lag behind Spain’s big two in terms of financial muscle.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are still the two richest teams in Europe, according to a report published today, with both boasting revenues in excess of £300m last year.

Manchester United, in third, are the highest ranked English club in the Deloitte Football Money League, while the strength of the Premier League is demonstrateded by Arsenal and Chelsea both making the top six.

Real topped the rankings for the sixth year in succession with revenues of £359.1m, despite being outshone on the pitch by their bitter rivals Barcelona, who reported income of £325.9m.

However the Catalan side’s recent shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation, which will earn them £140m over the next five and a half years, could see them overtake Real in the income stakes.

Both teams benefit from selling their media rights individually, meaning they earn more from broadcast revenue than English sides whose rights are sold collectively by the Premier League.

Spanish clubs are in talks about changing the model but Dan Jones, of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group, said: “We expect the battle for top spot in the Money League to be between Spain’s two superclubs for the next few years at least.”

Liverpool are also in the top 10, while Manchester City and Tottenham are poised just outside and both are tipped to increase their incomes over the next 12 months. City, the biggest climbers in this year’s table, grew revenues by 44 per cent to £125m.

Football clubs continued to defy the credit crunch, with the combined revenues of the top 20 richest clubs in Europe climbed to a new record €4.3bn (£3.7bn). All but three of the top 20 increasing revenue for 2009-10.