Wed, 05 Aug 2020

Real Madrid and Manchester United remain the two most valuable football clubs in Europe, according to a report released on Thursday by accountancy firm KPMG.

La Liga giants Real lead a list of the continent's 32 most valuable teams as of January 1, with KPMG estimating the value of the 13-time European champions at nearly €3.5 billion ($3.88 billion), with United in second place at 3.342 billion.

Barcelona jumped past Bayern Munich into third place at €3.193 billion according to KPMG's enterprise value (EV) formula, which takes into account profitability, popularity, sporting potential, TV rights and stadium ownership.

The report says Madrid's EV increased by eight percent in the last year compared to four percent for United, with KPMG saying that Real had increased commercial revenue by 41 percent since 2016.

That added to the three Champions Leagues won in that time were the main reasons for Real's top placing in the ranking, while United's strong showing comes despite their weakest on-pitch performances for decades.

The Top five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1) dominate the list with 27 clubs. England dominates with nine clubs, six of whom are in the top 10.

However for the first time since the study was carried out in 2016, no Italian team figured in the top 10, with Serie A champions Juventus dropping down to 11th.

Meanwhile former heavyweights AC Milan were the only club of the 32 whose EV dropped between 2016 and 2020.

The report also outlines broadly the financial hit clubs are set to take in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, underlining how revenues have flatlined -- thanks to no ticket sales and issues with TV rights payments -- while operating costs like player wages have not dropped to the same degree.

It also cites a previous KPMG study in which aggregate player value in the 10 European leagues the firm analyses could drop by anything between €6.6 billion and €10 billion, which would have a huge impact on clubs' values.

Jacco Swart, managing director of European Leagues, says that a "deflationary effect on (players') wages is inevitable as are further necessary cost-saving measures by clubs, leagues and federations".

However the report admits that it is "not possible to quantify such impacts in a reliable fashion".

Football is slowly coming back to life in Europe, with the Bundesliga already having returned and the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A restarting the 2019-20 season in June.

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