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LONDON: Real Madrid have climbed to the top of football’s ‘Money League’ as the Spanish side surpassed Manchester City to become the highest revenue generating club in 2022-23.

For the first time since 2017-18, Real are in pole positon in Deloitte’s financial rankings with a reported record revenue of €831 million ($905 million), an increase of €118 million over the previous year.

Although they failed to win La Liga last season — finishing 10 points behind champions Barcelona — and lost in the Champions League semifinals to Manchester City, Real’s growth is largely attributable to strong retail performance, higher stadium attendance and recovery of sponsorship income following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Manchester City, who won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last season, fall to second place in the 2024 rankings.

The club reported its highest ever revenue for a season, €826 million, and bolstered both broadcast and commercial revenues by 50 million euros and 26 million euros respectively.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain broke into the top three for the first time, with revenues of €802 million.

Barcelona are in fourth position as their 800 million euros revenue lifted them from seventh place, with club record licensing and merchandising revenues and fans returning to stadiums.

Commercial revenue represented the largest income stream for ‘Money League’ clubs for the first time since the 2015-16 season, excluding the COVID-19 impacted 2019-20 season.

Seventeen of the top 20 clubs reported a year-on-year increase in commercial revenue, with growth largely attributable to improved retail sales, revenue from non-matchday events and recovery of sponsorship income which had been impacted by the pandemic.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in financial experts Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Another record-breaking year for Money League clubs represents the ongoing financial might of the football industry.

“A high demand for live sport is pointing toward further growth for commercial and matchday revenues, in particular.

“As clubs appear to no longer be able to rely on exponential broadcast revenue growth, creating a more commercially focused business model will support them to achieve greater control over their financial stability.”

Liverpool have had the biggest fall of any club in the top 20, from third place down to seventh, after Deloitte found their revenue had dropped slightly from €694.7 million to 694.2 million euros.

Deloitte attributed that fall to the Reds’ on-field performance, with the club finishing fifth in the Premier League last season and bowing out in the Champions League last 16.

Manchester United dropped one place to fifth despite a healthier revenue figure than the season before.

Tottenham and Chelsea switched places compared to last year, with Tottenham up one place to eighth, while Arsenal held on to 10th position.