Manchester United's commercial success is likely to mean that it will soon be competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona for the accolade of the world's richest football club, according to Deloitte.
The annual report by the professional services network into the world's richest football clubs, published today, found that that Real Madrid has topped the global rich list for the eighth year in a row, with revenues breaking €500m (£420m) for the first time.
The top English club was Manchester United, which held onto its third spot, with revenues of €396m (£334m).
Manchester City was the joint top riser, leaping from 12th to seventh place in the standings, reporting revenues of €286m (£241m).
Manchester City's revenues were helped by the 2011 deal it signed with Etihad Airways to become the club's main commercial partner in a 10-year, £400m deal.
Chelsea was the other English club in the top five, after its revenues were boosted by winning last season's Champions League and the FA Cup.
Alan Switzer, director in the sports business group at Deloitte, believes that Manchester United's strategy of ramping up its commercial partners will mean that it will be competing with Real Madrid and Barcelona for the top spot within the next three years.
Manchester United currently has more than 30 commercial sponsors and last week it signed up soft drinks manufacturer Wahaha and China Construction Bank as new commercial partners.
The club aims to exploit its global brand recognition, as well as boosting revenues to help it compete in a new era of financial control in European football.
Austin Houlihan, senior manager in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: "Manchester United continue to successfully leverage their global brand. The new world-record, seven-year sponsorship deal with General Motors will double the revenues the club receives from its shirt partner in the first season of the new deal in 2014/15.
"This, combined with new Premier League broadcast deals from 2013/14, which will deliver incremental distributions between £20m and £30m per club, will help Manchester United push the two Spanish clubs above them for a top-two ranking."
Deloitte Football Money League table
- Real Madrid: €513m
- Barcelona: €483m
- Manchester United: €396m
- Bayern Munich: €368m
- Chelsea: €323m
- Arsenal: €290m
- Manchester City: €286m
- AC Milan: €257m
- Liverpool: €233m
- Juventus: €195m
Source: Deloitte: 2011-12Follow @johnreynolds10
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