Move over, Manchester United, there's a new most valuable franchise in football on the block, and it's Real Madrid.
Forbes has released its list of most valuable clubs in world football, and Real Madrid was at the top with a total value of a staggering $3.3 billion.
Mike Ozanian of Forbes has more on Real Madrid's ascension to the top of this list:
Thanks to rich sponsorship deals that are underpinned by the team’s storied history of trophies—a record nine Champions League titles and 32 domestic championships—and star players that were or are global themselves—Raul Blanco, David Beckham, Ronaldo Lima, Cristiano Ronaldo—Real Madrid’s revenue has increased 62 percent over the past three years with an average operating margin of 28 percent. More cash is coming to Madrid: Dubai’s Emirates Airline is close to signing a long-term, $39 million-a-year shirt sponsorship deal with the team.
Manchester United wasn't far behind Los Blancos at a total value of $3.165 billion, followed by Barcelona ($2.6 billion), Arsenal ($1.326 billion) and Bayern Munich ($1.309 billion).
It's hardly surprising that three of these teams (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich) are in the semifinals of the Champions League, with only Borussia Dortmund reaching the semifinals without raking in the big bucks.
Barcelona and Manchester United are almost assured to win La Liga and Premier League titles this season, while Bayern Munich has already wrapped up the Bundesliga championship.
Last year's finalists for the Ballon d'Or and arguably the three best players in the world—Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta for Barcelona, Ronaldo for Real Madrid—are included in this group of teams. There are also plenty of other global stars represented on these squads, including Wayne Rooney of United.
Historically, these are five of the most successful clubs in the world, combining for 126 league titles and 20 Champions League titles.
Not surprisingly, Real Madrid also brings in the largest revenue ($650 million), followed by Barcelona ($613 million), United ($502 million), Bayern Munich ($468 million) and Chelsea ($409 million).