World Football Club Power List
Who holds all the cards in World Football? Real Madrid can sign anyone, Manchester City have bottomless pockets, Liverpool are wracked with debt, and Barcelona play fantasy football, but who has the power in football?
1. Real Madrid
With an estimated £400m coming into the club every year, they can go out and sign whoever they want, and under Florentino Perez, they usually do. Of course, this is backed up by a phenomenal history at the club.
Are perhaps the one club who can fend off Real Madrid's incessant pursuit of the world's best talent, as well as attracting them too. The current European Champions League holders are also the best footballing team on the planet and have a rather unique business model that allows them to compete on the highest stage.
3. Manchester United
Despite being in third place, even a club like United cannot hold off Madrid for long. They sold Ronaldo after two years of constant rumours over the Madrid transfer. The £80m they re-couped should still be enough to continue their dominance of the EPL.
Having stumbled through four managers in two seasons, Chelsea are finally on the verge of either sacking their new manager (Carlo Ancellotti) or pushing United to the wire, depending on your point of view. Despite this, they have still managed to hold on to their biggest stars and are still back by their owners' millions.
5. AC Milan
The Italian giants have had to live in the shadow of their city rivals, Inter, for sometime now. They have just lost their best player to Madrid and their manager to Chelsea, but are still one of the destinations of choice for any player.
6. Inter Milan
The current Champions in Serie A, and the dominant force in Italy at the moment. They have one of the best managers in the world in Jose Mourinho and have a large bank balance that is waiting to be spent as they vie for the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger simply cannot go out and buy the world's best players. The club doesn't have the money.
They lag some way behind league rivals United and Chelsea in the marketing stakes but still bring in around £100m through match day revenue alone.
Through this and Wenger's superb track record with young players, they are able to attract some of the best potential in the world.
8. Bayern Munich
The club are in the middle of a re-building period and have not challenged for the Champions League in sometime.
Despite this, they are the prime destination in Germany and have the money and business model to can attract almost any star in continental Europe.
The club are in trouble with a rising debt off the field but that should be rectified soon as the loan terms will be re-financed over a longer period.
The Anfield club are one of the few who can fend off the likes of Real Madrid and have tied up key players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to long-term contracts.
10. AS Roma
Francesco Totti's only club are one of the main forces in Serie A, even though they have not won the league in some time.
The power they generate stems from a fervent support and an intelligent scouting system that sees them snap up many players before they hit their peak.
The Old Lady returned to Serie A after being relegated after a bribery scandal, and have immediately asserted themselves as Champions League-place contenders. They will always be a huge attraction to players from all over the world and they use this knowledge to maintain their high status in Serie A.
After being knocked from the perch in Ligue 1 after a decade of dominance the French team will strive to re-structure in the summer.
That may hinge on holding onto key player Karim Benzema, but with only clubs like Madrid, Barca, and United with the ability to prise him away, they may well get the money they are demanding.
The most profitable team in France are also run by one of the cleverest chairmen in European football.
13. Schalke 04
A surprise to many that Schalke would feature on such a list, but the fact is that the German side are one of the richest in world football. They attract almost 60,000 to every home game and are one of the sleeping giants of European football.
14. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs have spent an amazing £190m on transfers over the last five years, of course £50m of this has been through compensation for sacked managers.
If the on-field antics of the team can come close to matching one of the best business models in English football, the club might have some chance of reaching the Champions League.
15. Manchester City
They are the one team in European football that look destined to rise dramatically through this list.
Through the financial muscle that their owners have provided, they have the ability to sign anyone, but they still lack the obvious Champions League ambitions to attract the elite. Expect them to have these ambitions within the next three seasons.
The German outfit were challenging for the title until their small squad caught up on them. They are one of the few clubs in Germany who are set up to challenge Bayern's dominance, and they have the ability to attract the key players they need to do so.
After years in the French wilderness, Marseille finally came good last year. The aristocrats of French football ran Bourdeaux right to the line but came up just short.
They will reinforce their ranks during the summer and should they do so intelligently, European football will have one more team capable of reaching the latter stages of the Champions League.
By now you will have realised that the German league is incredibly well run. The average wage spend in the league is 60% of club revenue, Stuttgart come in under that.
The fifth largest club in the country sell out their 43,000-seat stadium every week and since their re-structuring in 2000, have the country's finest youth system.
One of the most fervently supported teams in Spain, Sevilla have cemented themselves as the leading club in Spain after Madrid and Barca.
Their strategic footballing plan, led by Monchi, has seen the club use the same formation through its last three managers, resulting in the club holding on to the same players and building positively.
They can now fend off clubs like Spurs and Hamburg and build for the future.
The Turkish giants are one of the highest profit making clubs in world football, an estimated £88m a year.
Through this model aligned with their dominance of the Turkish League, they have been able to attract some of the best players from South America and continental Europe.
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