Manchester United Slip in Forbes List While City and Liverpool Both Rise

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  Dejected Manchester United players walk off the pitch following their team's1-0 defeat during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on May 3, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United's failure to secure Champions League football heading into next season has seen the club's value drop by 11 percent, reported in Forbes' latest list of the world's richest football teams:

The Red Devils suffered a disastrous campaign under the recently sacked David Moyes, who has played a major role in leading United to their lowest finish since the Premier League era began. While the fallen champions tend to their wounds in hope of a better 2014-15 campaign, potential usurpers Manchester City and Liverpool have seen their valuations increase.

A list of the top-10 richest football clubs in the world was provided by Mike Ozanian of Forbes (h/t David Kent of the Daily Mail):

Forbes' Top 10 Most Valuable Football Clubs
PositionClubCurrent ValuePercentage Change
1.Real Madrid£2 billionUp 4%
2.Barcelona£1.9 billionUp 23%
3.Manchester United£1.65 billionDown 11%
4.Bayern Munich£1.1 billionUp 41%
5.Arsenal£767 millionNo change
6.Chelsea£511 millionDown 4%
7.Manchester City£508 millionUp 25%
8.AC Milan£504 millionDown 9%
9.Juventus£501 millionUp 22%
10.Liverpool£407 millionUp 6%
Forbes, via the Daily Mail.

This is the first time two Spanish clubs have topped Forbes' list. Each valuation is certainly reflective of movements made on and off the pitch, as Kent indicates "increase is driven by climbing Champions League prize money, television fees and sponsorship revenues."

Real Madrid's signing of Gareth Bale and ascension to the Champions League final underlines the commercial power of the world's richest club. With European football guaranteed for next season and stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu, there's little wonder why the valuation continues to sore.

Ozanian indicates the club's numbers are also aided by "a $52 million a year kit deal with Adidas and a $39 million per year shirt sponsorship with Emirates."

Similarly, Barcelona's capture of Neymar has seen the Catalan outfit receive great interest away from the realms of Lionel Messi. Despite limited success on the pitch—Barca lost the Copa del Rey final, failed to advance beyond the Champions League quarter-finals and are battling for La Liga supremacy—the club remains a juggernaut across the globe.

As noted by Ozanian, "a $45 million a year shirt deal with Qatar and a $44 million per year kit deal with Nike" helps the cause.

Such valuation improvements provide stark contrast to Manchester United, who couldn't have envisioned a tougher season after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement. Ozanian suggests the club's sponsorship deal with Chevrolet ensures losses from missing out on the Champions League are kept at $35 million (just over £20 million), rather than $55 million (roughly £32.4 million).

English clubs make up 50 percent of the top 10, but United's numbers dwarf those of their domestic rivals. In fact, the club's £1.65 million valuation is more than double Arsenal's £767 million, their nearest monetary competitors in the Premier League.

Both Manchester City and Liverpool, who have signed lucrative sponsorship deals in recent times and secured Champions League football next season, are on the up.

It will be interesting to see how City's recently reported £50 million fine and wage-limit cap—expected to be installed by UEFA after the Etihad club breached the governing body's financial fair play rules, per Owen Gibson of The Guardian—will alter next year's standings.

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United leaves the field dejected after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Manchester United at Allianz Arena on April 9, 2014 in Munich, Germany.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Perhaps worth noting is that Paris Saint-Germain's decision to sign David Beckham in 2012-13 has helped push the French champions to 15th on the list, while Galatasaray's domestic dominance and improved European showings have thrust the Turkish team to one spot below, noted by Ozanian.

Such valuations highlight the importance of possessing star names, as well as successful results on the pitch. While teams such as Manchester United have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, poor displays ultimately scream loudest, especially when prize money is taken into consideration.

United face a difficult task when trying to recapture a stint in the Champions League. Their aforementioned English rivals are likely to improve across preseason, indicating Moyes' successor needs to quickly rejuvenate the squad. If they don't, it's likely next year's list will also coincide with a major valuation drop for the nation's historic club.