Real tops United as most valuable team

April 17, 2013
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Manchester United has lost its status as the most valuable soccer brand in the world, according to a list published by Forbes Magazine on Wednesday.

For the first time since 2004, when the financial publication began assessing the value of soccer franchises, Real Madrid has taken the No. 1 spot with a value of $3.3 billion. The value of the Spanish club makes it the most valuable team in the world.

Last September, Forbes named the Dallas Cowboys as the most valuable team in the NFL with a value of $2.1 billion. In January, Forbes said the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers became the first teams in the NBA to be worth more than $1 billion.

Manchester United, owned by the Glazer family, takes the No. 2 spot with a value of $3.1 billion. FC Barcelona ($2.6 billion), Arsenal ($1.3 billion) and Bayern Munich ($1.3 billion) round out the top five.

In January, business advisory firm Deloitte said that Real Madrid was the first club in any sport to surpass $650 million in revenues in a single year ('11-'12 season). The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Emirates Airlines is set to extend its jersey sponsorship with the club at a price of $39 million a year.

Real Madrid and Man United have been interconnected in dealings over the past decade. Real picked up David Beckham in 2003 after his stint with Manchester United before letting him go to the MLS in 2007. Real Madrid also paid a transfer fee of $131 million in 2009 to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.

Forbes says the highest-earning soccer players, including on-field salary and off-the-field endorsers, are Beckham ($50.6 million), Ronaldo ($43.5 million) and Barca's Lionel Messi ($40.3 million).