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Manchester United Named Most Valuable Football Club by Forbes

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

Manchester United players celebrate after Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford scored the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on May 13, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United have once again been named as the most valuable football club in the world by Forbes

In an annual study conducted by the business magazine (h/t Reuters, via ESPN FC), it was deemed the Red Devils are worth a staggering $4.12 billion (£3.08 billion) as things stand. That puts them ahead of La Liga giants Real Madrid ($4.08 billion) and Barcelona ($4.06 billion).

The ESPN account provided the top five in the list, with Bayern Munich and Manchester City a fair way short of their European rivals:

ESPN UK @ESPNUK

Manchester United are the world's most valuable football club for a second consecutive year. Barcelona and Real Madrid are closing in. Full list 👉 https://t.co/AfqYzi8Q3n https://t.co/wC27sHsSfY

Among the top 10 there are four other Premier League teams. Arsenal ($2.23 billion), Chelsea ($2.06 billion) and Liverpool ($1.94 billion) follow City. Serie A champions Juventus ($1.47 billion) are ninth, while Tottenham Hotspur ($1.23 billion) round off the top 10.

Despite breaking the transfer world record to sign Neymar last summer, French champions Paris Saint-Germain are only 11th in the list.

Forbes also deemed there is only one sporting institution in the world worth more than United, Real Madrid and Barcelona—the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. As noted by NBC Sports last month, at the moment football is a booming industry on social media:

NBC Sports @NBCSports

Nine out of ten of the most followed sports teams on Twitter are soccer teams 👀 https://t.co/SpCDywIJXh

Forbes calculate the value of a football club by adding equity to net debt.

With that in mind, Real Madrid and Barcelona are in a strong position to challenge the Red Devils at the summit in 2019. That's because Madrid have won the UEFA Champions League in four of the last five seasons and Barca are set for an increased windfall following a stadium renovation.

Real Madrid won the Champions League again this year.
Real Madrid won the Champions League again this year.Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

Last year United knocked Madrid off top spot for the first time in four years following some outstanding commercial performance. 

As relayed by Rob Harris of the Associated Press last month, the Red Devils' vice-chairman Ed Woodward provided more impressive financial results for the club and said what happens on the pitch is unlikely to stem their growth off it:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Man United finances Q3 to March 31: Revenue up 8% year-on-year to £137.5m. Profit £0.1m

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Man United vice chairman Ed Woodward: > 224,000 membership sales > Season tickets sold out for next season > Club app top of sports category in 35+ countries in IOS App store

In recent years United haven't had the success to match some of the other sides in the list but remain one of the biggest clubs on the planet.

Last season Jose Mourinho's side finished without silverware, having toiled in the Champions League and ended as runner-up in both the Premier League and the FA Cup. The last time they were crowned champions of England was in 2013.

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