Spanish giants Real Madrid top the annual edition of the Football Money League released on Tuesday by accountancy firm Deloitte.

Madrid recorded revenues of 401.4 million euros (544 million dollars), followed by arch-rivals Barcelona on 365.9 million.

“Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have created a clear revenue gap between themselves and their European competitors, and look set to contest the top two positions in the Money League for the foreseeable future, particularly if the pound doesn’t strengthen against the euro,” said Alan Switzer, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

English Premier League champions Manchester United dropped one place to third with 327 million euros due to the weakness of the sterling, followed by Germany’s Bayern Munich (289.5) and Arsenal (263).

The report ranks the 20 biggest football clubs in the world based on revenue and is completely occupied by European clubs. Seven of the places are filled by English clubs, five from Germany, four from Italy, and two each from France and Spain.

The only new entrants compared to last year are Werder Bremen and Manchester City who replace VfB Stuttgart and Turkish club Fenerbahce.

The report shows that the top clubs showed relative resistance to the economic downturn with overall revenues for the Top 20 clubs increasing in 2008/09 to 3.9 billion euros.

Real Madrid’s 10-per-cent increase in revenue to 401 million euros came despite a relatively disappointing season domestically and in Europe,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“Broadcast income provided Real with its largest increase in revenue, and at 161 million euros is now greater than the total revenue of all but the top ten Money League clubs.”

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