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The Red Devils have once again topped the Forbes list and are now valued at more than $2 billion, although Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are catching up quickly

Manchester United have retained their status as the world’s richest club, with their value having soared by an estimated 20 per cent according to business publication Forbes.

United are now reportedly worth $2.24 billion (€1.7bn) after posting record figures following their run to last season’s Champions League Final.

Real Madrid are second with a value of $1.88bn (€1.43bn), a 29% rise, while reigning European and Spanish champions Barcelona are third on $1.31bn (€998 million), an increase of 34%.

The report on Forbes.com claims: "Manchester United’s global fan base of some 330m also helps makes it the most valuable team in any sport, worth $385m (€293m) more than both Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.

"During the 2010-11 season Manchester United reaped $192m (€146m) in broadcasting revenue, 22 per cent higher than the previous season.

"The club’s run last year to the final of the Champions League, where they lost to Barcelona, commanded an $80m (€61m) payout from UEFA. It will be more challenging for the Red Devils to boost revenue this year, as the team was stunned early in the Champions League by Basel."

In total five teams are now estimated to be worth over $1bn (€760m), with Bayern Munich and Arsenal making up the top five. And Forbes predicts that the nature of the Champions League competition will mean the rich continue to get richer.

"Not only do these teams reap direct revenue from finishing near the top of their domestic leagues and tournament competition, but they also generate rich sponsorship and merchandise deals from the powerful brands they have built through success on the pitch over time," they continue.

"During the 2011 season the Uefa Champions League, the world’s richest annual soccer competition, dolled out a total of $1.14bn (€870m) to the 32 teams that qualified for the group stage, 23 per cent more than the previous year.

"A 25 per cent increase in UEFA’s broadcasting revenue, to $1.28bn (€975m), fueled the increase."

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