Real knock United off top of rich list

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MANCHESTER United have lost the No 1 spot in the Forbes list of most valuable football teams to Real Madrid.

United had held top spot since business analyst Forbes started the list in 2004 but have been overtaken by Real.

Barcelona are in third place and Arsenal fourth ahead of Bayern Munich in fifth place.

Real Madrid are valued at £2.15 billion, making the Spanish club the most valuable sports franchise in the world, and United at £2.07bn.

Forbes said in a statement: “This is the first time since Forbes began valuing soccer teams in 2004 that Manchester United is not No 1 on the list. With superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, and coach Jose Mourinho on the bench, Real Madrid has thrived under the leadership of billionaire president Florentino Perez.”

David Beckham still tops the list of highest-earning players with earnings of £33m, £29m of which came from endorsements. Ronaldo is second with earnings of £28.8m and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in third with a total of £26m last year from salary and endorsements.