Football: Real top world football's rich list for third consecutive year, ahead of rivals Barca

European champions Real Madrid are the world's most valuable football club for a third straight year, according to a Forbes poll released on Wednesday that showed the average value of the top 20 teams rose 11 percent over last year. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
European champions Real Madrid are the world's most valuable football club for a third straight year, according to a Forbes poll released on Wednesday that showed the average value of the top 20 teams rose 11 percent over last year. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (Reuters) - European champions Real Madrid are the world's most valuable football club for a third straight year, according to a Forbes poll released on Wednesday that showed the average value of the top 20 teams rose 11 percent over last year.

The Spanish club's value fell five percent to $3.26 billion (S$4.32 billion) but their $746 million in revenue, the highest of any sports team in the world, was enough to keep them top of the list, Forbes said in a statement.

Barcelona ($3.16 billion), Manchester United ($3.10 billion), German champions Bayern Munich ($2.35 billion) and Manchester City ($1.35 billion) rounded out the top five. Rising television and shirt sponsorship revenue helped drive the average value of the top 20 clubs to $1.16 billion, a staggering 84 percent jump from five years ago.

Eight of the top 20 teams are from the English Premier League, which Forbes credited to both a rise in the British pound relative to the euro and U.S. dollar and a lucrative new domestic TV deal starting from the 2016-17 season.

Serie A champions Juventus ($837 million), AC Milan ($775 million), Inter Milan ($439 million) and Napoli ($353 million) are the only Italian teams to crack the top 20 but none were higher than ninth place. Forbes said the once-great Serie A brand has been undermined over the past decade by match-fixing scandals, antiquated stadiums, rising debts and a decline in talent on the pitch.

The 10 most valuable football teams (in billions): 1. Real Madrid $3.26 2. Barcelona $3.16 3. Manchester United $3.10 4. Bayern Munich $2.35 5. Manchester City $1.38 6. Chelsea $1.37 7. Arsenal $1.31 8. Liverpool $982 9. Juventus $837 10. AC Milan $775. For the complete list visit (http://Forbes.com/soccer)