Man United remains world’s most valuable club

Manchester United has been ranked football’s most valuable team

by Forbes magazine for the seventh year in a row, while Barcelona’s

valuation has dropped.

Taking into account income, profitability and debt levels, the

American business magazine’s valuation of United has risen slightly

to $1.9 billion despite only winning the 2010 League Cup since its

last Premier League title triumph in 2009.

United, though, is a favorite to wrap up a record 19th English

title this season.

Speculation continues to swirl that the club will be sold in the

near future, although the owning Glazer family has issued

statements twice in the last year to insist they won’t sell United,

which recorded losses of $171.5 million in the year to June


United is again followed by Real Madrid and Arsenal, but

Barcelona has been dislodged from fourth place in the rankings by

Bayern Munich, with the valuation of the Spanish champions slipping

below the $1-billion mark to $975 million.

”Barcelona declined because of a combination of high debt, a

stronger U.S. dollar and uncertainty surrounding the financial

stability of the media company that broadcasts their games,”

Forbes executive Editor Mike Ozanian said Wednesday.

Barcelona tops the Spanish league, but lost to Real Madrid in

the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, allowing its fiercest rival to

win its first trophy since 2008.

Real Madrid has also seen its Forbes value rise from $1.3

billion to $1.5 billion to retain second place.

Arsenal is enduring a title drought stretching back to 2005 but

stays third as American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke mounts a

takeover bid that values the London club at 731 million pounds

($1.2 billion).

Two other Premier League clubs are in the top 10, with Premier

League champion Chelsea rising from ninth to seventh and Liverpool

dropping from sixth to ninth as its value collapsed from $822 to

$552 in the wake of the enforced sale to Boston Red Sox ownership

group in October in a deal worth $476 million.

Liverpool missed out on the lucrative Champions League this

season and is unlikely to qualify for next season’s competition.

With the team sixth in the English top flight it has won 18 times,

the Reds also face missing out on the Europa League.

”The top soccer teams that can consistently qualify for the big

European tournaments are increasing in value in large part because

they reaping the benefits of higher broadcasting and sponsorship

revenue,” Ozanian said.

In a separate study released Wednesday, Barcelona and Real

Madrid were shown to have overtaken the New York Yankees as the

best-paid global sports teams.

The review of average first-team pay in 14 of the world’s

leading sports leagues showed that was $7.9 million at Barcelona

and $7.4 million at Real Madrid during the 2009-10 season.

The third-placed Yankees are paying their players an average of

$6.8 million this season. The MLB side last year topped the review

which is compiled by The Sporting Intelligence website and is being

published by ESPN The Magazine.