There’s many ways to build a list of richest football clubs in the world – you can choose to focus on revenue, or the overall value of the club… But those don’t give you an accurate assessment of which really are the cash-rich clubs in the worlds. For example, judged by the value of the club alone, Arsenal are fourth richest club in the world according to Forbes – and their recent transfer activity doesn’t indicate anything of sorts.
This list is based on the actual spending power of the clubs. That’s not as exactly quantifiable as value, revenue or profit are, but still some clubs rise clearly above the others in these terms.
After being purchased by ABU Dhabi Group, City has been tearing it up in the transfer market. Net transfer spend of over 400 million pounds over the last five seasons indicate that – their money has brought some results though, with first by qualifying to the Champions League and then the last season’s Premier League triumph.
The money from United Arab Emirates has made it possible for City to buy such world class players as Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, David Silva, and Sergio Agüero, just to name a few. While the incredible squad hasn’t brought European success, they have already become a staple in top of club football.
In early 2011 Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) purchased all the stakes of Paris Saint-Germain, becoming the sole owner of the club. This was followed by huge transfer spend that has already elevated the Parisians as one of the top clubs in the world – certainly one of the richest.
Combined with the fashionability of its location in Paris, the money has lured in some of the top footballers of the world – team boasts such outrageous talents like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi. If QIA keeps investing money to transfer market, PSG will have easy time staying at the top of French football.
Roman Abramovich’s playtoy wouldn’t be the Champions League-winning top club it is nowadays without the continuous inflow of money from the Russian oligarch. Despite being hugely successful on the pitch, many managers have come and gone over the years and for one the money is making Chelsea entertaining to follow.
Chelsea is only beaten by City in the transfer spend of recent seasons and Abramovich had to open his wallet again this season as the club started rebuilding its team for another dynasty. Rebuilding effort seems well on the way with stars like Mata and Hazard featuring on the list and big names like Falcao linked to the club.
4. Anzhi Makhachkala
Not everyone even knows this Russian club, but FC Anzhi Makhachkala certainly boasts some impressive muscle – last feat of its strength was signing of Christopher Samba for 12 million pounds. But even more famous was the poaching of Samuel Eto’o from Inter – the Cameroonian superstar leads the Anzhi’s line after 28 million euro move. The money has also attracted world famous manager Guus Hiddink to the reins of the club.
Anzhi might not boast too much success yet, but its a club that’s sure to make it big in the coming years. The club is financed by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who has intentions to invest 200 million euros to the infrastructure of the club. Kerimov is a known philanthropist that made his fortune via investments – investment in Anzhi seems likely to be more for philanthropy than for profit.
5. Real Madrid
First club that actually is on the list on its own financial merit. Or is it? Backed heavily by Spanish government, Los Blancos financial dominance, while having huge revenues, is more based on the fact that they don’t have pressures to ever pay the massive debts they have. They might, given they are one of top clubs in the world in revenue, but even if money isn’t there you can always trust that they find mega-money like 90 million euros for Cristiano Ronaldo for transfer should they need it.
Real Madrid of course is famous for its multiple record buys, galacticos. The likes of Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have joined the club for enormous transfer fees, with CR9 holding the current world record, that is not gonna be beaten in a while even with all these cash-rich clubs on this list.
6. Manchester United
While recent transfer activity has been largely subdued, and it is a fact that United isn’t the financial powerhouse it used to be due to the debt club is in, you can be certain that if Sir Alex sees value somewhere United will make the transfer. They are estimated to be the most valuable club in the world and rake in great revenues, so money, in reality, isn’t an issue for the Red Devils.
Bigger problem is that for the best players of the world Manchester isn’t as attractive as, say Madrid, Barcelona or Paris is. And they certainly are not willing to pay fees and wages as extravagant as their blue rivals. For these reasons their net transfer spend of last five seasons is only slightly over 60 million pounds. The long-term financial future of the club is safe though as its the biggest worldwide brand out of any football clubs.
7. FC Bayern Munich
Another club that is rich mostly for its footballing feats and worldwide recognition. FC Bayern rakes in big revenues as is thus possible to make such big money moves as Javi Martinez’s signing in last summer for 40 million euros.
FC Bayern is the fourth richest club in the world by the revenue its generating and its brand value is considered second highest, beaten only by Manchester United.
Speaking of big brands, Barcelona is another. Again, debt is slowing them down a bit, but supported by La Masia’s top class youth players and still being able to delve out money for players such as Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez, Barcelona undoubtedly one of the richest clubs in the world.
With on-field success and attractiveness of playing for Barcelona, they still can attain the best talent in the world and they even pay Lionel Messi, quite justly, the highest wages in the football.
9. AC Milan
As Italy’s richest club, the Rossoneri aren’t in as good position as they used to be but they still have a lot of value and can spend money when there is a good reason for it. The Silvio Berlusconi owned club is not having a good time in its own league, though.
The current best club of oil-rich Qatari league, the lure for the money has attracted famous players such as Raúl and Mamadou Niang to play for them. Despite its financial muscle, Al-Sadd remains a club for top players last payday rather than a place to spend their prime in.