Manchester United top the 50 most valuable clubs in the world. GETTY IMAGES

Sports analysis website Sportico has published a list of what it claims are the 50 most valuable football clubs in economic terms. Manchester United tops the list, despite their poor performances in the Champions League and Premier League. Real Madrid and Barcelona are close behind.

Manchester United are not having a great time in football, either in the Premier League, where they are eighth, or in the UEFA Champions League, where they have won just one of their six matches and finished bottom of their group.

Nevertheless, it is the most valuable club in the world, worth $6.2 billion (€5.7 billion) according to the Sportico portal (a PMC company). This company calculated each team's income based on publicly available financial statements, real estate and businesses related to three main areas: broadcasting, commercial and match-related.

Of course, revenues from sporting performance, commercial sources including sponsorship, advertising, corporate hospitality, catering and non-match events, as well as ticket sales and annual subscriptions or membership fees, among many others, are also taken into account.

The English team is followed in the top ten by two Spanish teams. Real Madrid, the most successful team in the history of the world's premier team competition, the Champions League (which could reach 15 if they win the final against Borussia Dortmund on 1 June), are in second place with a valuation of $6.06 billion (€5.6 billion), while rival Barcelona are in third place with a valuation of $5.28 billion (€4.9 billion).

Screenshot of the ranking published on the Sportico website. SPORTICO
Screenshot of the ranking published on the Sportico website. SPORTICO

Despite occupying 2nd and 3rd positions in the table, Spain is far from being the league with the most valuable teams overall. It has only 3 in the top 50, with Atlético de Madrid in 13th place at $1.62 billion (€1.5 billion).

As well as having the world's most valuable team, the Premier League continues to lead Europe with nine clubs: Manchester United, Liverpool (4th), Manchester City (6th), Arsenal (8th), Tottenham Hotspur (9th), Chelsea, West Ham United (27th), Newcastle United (32nd) and Aston Villa (44th).

Italy's Serie A is represented by six clubs: Juventus (11th), A.C. Milan (14th), Inter Milan (16th), Roma (24th), Napoli (33rd) and Atalanta (45th), although none are in the top ten compiled by Sportico.

Germany has four teams in the top 50: Bayern Munich (5th), Borussia Dortmund (12th), RB Leipzig (43rd) and Eintracht Frankfurt (46th). It will be interesting to see if Bayer Leverkusen have a chance of making the list next year after winning the Bundesliga in 2023-24, reaching the UEFA Champions League final and breaking the record for unbeaten matches (49 with a 2-2 draw against Roma).

France has just two, Paris Saint-Germain (7th) and Lyon (23rd). The Netherlands have Ajax (26th) and Portugal have Benfica (35th).

Joselu celebrates the dramatic goal that sent Real Madrid to the Champions League final. GETTY IMAGES
Joselu celebrates the dramatic goal that sent Real Madrid to the Champions League final. GETTY IMAGES

Surprisingly, the number of teams from a minor league such as the MLS is significant, although far from the top positions. In the top 20 is Los Angeles FC $1.15bn (€1.07 billion), probably due to the large Spanish-speaking community in California, as the average American ranks football as their fifth or sixth favourite sport.

From 15th to 21st, with the exception of Inter Milan (16th), they are all from the United States. Atlanta United, Inter Miami, LA Galaxy, New York City FC and Austin FC. Also in the top fifty are Portland Timbers (30th), Columbus Crew (37th), FC Cincinnati (38th) and Nashville SC (40th), underlining the growth of the game in the world's leading economic power, even if the locals sometimes turn their backs on it.

Lionel Messi's move to the MLS has benefited the league as a whole, generating a level of interest that had never been achieved, not even with the arrival of Pelé and Beckenbauer in the 1970s. But that alone is not enough to create a global league with the potential to generate revenue like no other in the world.

Could this be why so much effort is being put into attracting high-profile, large-scale events? After all, 2024 will see the Copa America, 2025 the 32-team Club World Cup and 2026 the FIFA World Cup with 48 teams in 11 venues (16 in total, including two from our neighbours Canada and three from Mexico).