Real Madrid and Barcelona lead football rich list as Schalke makes surprise top-10 entrance

The Spanish giants continue to dominate the Football Money League as they have expanded their enormous lead over the top clubs from England, Germany and Italy
  • Real Madrid crowned as world's richest club for seventh year in a row
  • Clubs from four different countries in top 10
  • Schalke climbs most places - from 16th to 10th
  • Top-seven placings remain unchanged
Real Madrid and Barcelona remain top of football’s rich list as the Spanish duo moved further clear of their rivals from England, Germany, Italy and France. According to the 2012 Deloitte Football Money League, published today, the Liga giants are the only clubs with annual revenue over 450 million euros.

Real Madrid tops the Football Money League for the seventh year in succession and is now just one year short of equalling Manchester United’s dominance in the top position during the first eight years of the Money League. 

However, Madrid is being chased hard by rival Barcelona, whose 13 percent growth in 2010-11 meant revenue surpassed 450 million euros for the first time. 

"Barca’s shirt deal with the Qatar Foundation, will further boost the club’s revenue in 2011-12.  Nonetheless, Real Madrid will be confident it can remain at the top of the Money League next year. The two clubs’ on-pitch performance, particularly in this season’s Champions League, will have a big influence on the final outcome," commented Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

United’s failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in 2011-12 will likely result in the gulf between the club and its Spanish opponents stretching to over 100 million euros. 

Once again, the Money League top 20 comprises clubs from the ‘big five’ European leagues, six of which come from the English Premier League, while a further five English clubs were just outside the top 20 for revenues in the 2010-11 season (Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Everton, West Ham United and Sunderland).

Tottenham’s debut in the Champions League, where it reached the quarterfinals, almost helped it to 10th spot in this year’s Money League.

However, Spurs were leapfrogged by Bundesliga side Schalke – this year’s biggest climber – which jumped six places, pushing Italian giants Juventus out of the top 10 in the process. Schalke’s dramatic rise up the Money League came as a result of a Champions League campaign that saw the club reach the semifinals of the competition. 

Nevertheless, a disappointing 14th-place finish in the 2010-11 Bundesliga season and failure to qualify for Champions League football in 2011-12 will likely see a drop back down the rankings next year.

For the fourth successive year, the clubs comprising the top six places in the Money League – Madrid, Barcelona, United, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea – have remained the same, with no movement in their respective positions for the last three years. 


1. Real Madrid
2. Barcelona
3. Manchester United
4. Bayern Munich
5. Arsenal
6. Chelsea
7. Milan
8. Inter
9. Liverpool
10. Schalke
11. Tottenham
12. Manchester City
13. Juventus
14. Marseille
15. Roma
16. Borussia Dortmund
17. Lyon
18. Hamburg
19. Valencia
20. Napoli

The combined revenues of the world’s 20 highest-earning football clubs have defied the gloomy economic forecasts around Europe by growing three percent on the previous year.

They have achieved double the rate of growth of the economies of the countries represented in the Money League, which grew on average by just 1.7% during the course of 2010 and by 1.3% in 2011.

The 20 clubs generated 4.4 billion euros in revenue during the 2010-11 season and now represent over a quarter of the total revenues of the European football market. Nine of the top 20 clubs recorded double-digit growth in the year.

"Continued growth of the top 20 clubs during 2010-11 emphasises the strength of football’s top clubs, especially in these tough economic times. Whilst revenue growth has slowed from 8% in 2009-10 to 3% in 2010-11, their large and loyal supporter bases, ability to drive strong broadcast audiences and continuing attraction to corporate partners has made them relatively resilient to the economic downturn," Jones added.

All revenue figures in the Money League report are based on the 2010-11 season or the most recent available calendar year. It focuses on the revenue generated by each club, not expenditure such as wages and debt management.

Commenting on the impact of UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement, Paul Rawnsley, a Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, stressed that the measurements are likely to have a positive influence on the balance between revenue and expenditure.

"The focus on football’s future financial sustainability is more prevalent in Europe than at any time in the past 20 years. We remain keen to see that translated into a better balance between revenue and expenditure. 

"UEFA’s break-even requirement, to be assessed for the first time in 2013, is helpful in driving this improvement. It is encouraging more owners to consider the longer term development of their clubs, in terms of generating revenues, investing in facilities and youth development, and controlling their expenditures."

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