In the imaginary world of “football vs. football,” it’s once again soccer that wins. While NFL franchises are spread throughout the updated list of the 50 most valuable sports teams in the world, it’s soccer clubs who sit on top of the throne.
Spanish football ruled the world in 2013-14, with the country being responsible for Europa League and Champions League winners. Thus, it’s not surprising that the top-two teams atop this list call Spain home. At the opposite end of the top-ten is a proud club that possesses five European Cups and 18 Leagues.
Here are the 10 most valuable soccer teams in the world in 2014.
Values courtesy of Forbes
10. Liverpool — Value: $691 million
Liverpool fans are over the moon after what was a dream season. The club was one literal slip away from potentially winning the Premier League title. LFC did well to end their Champions League drought.
All of that said, they have a rough road ahead of them now that their key man has left the club.
Fans and critics alike can bash disgraced front man Luis Suarez until they are blue in their faces. All of the abhorrent acts that he has committed over the years do not erase that Suarez was, in 2013-14, the best striker on the planet. A player with Suarez’s quality is not merely replaced.
Go ask Tottenham if you don’t want to take my word for it.
9. Juventus — Value: $850 million
It’s been quite the roller coaster ride for Juve and for supporters of the club. Juventus cruised to a Serie A title this past season, finishing 17 points ahead of second-place Roma. They will again be favorites to win the league for the upcoming campaign.
It wasn’t all rosy for The Old Lady last season, however. They were bounced out of the group stages of the Champions League. They squandered a chance to play a Europa League Final on their own patch, Then, after the World Cup, fan-favorite manager Antonio Conte shocked many when he left the club.
8. AC Milan — Value: $856 million
Money doesn’t always buy success in sports. Milan are proof of this. The club finished atop the Serie A table in 2011, and they were behind only Juventus the following season. 2013-14 was an absolute disaster for Milan, however, as they finished in eighth and without any European football.
Kaka leaving Milan for Major League Soccer side Orlando City isn’t a massive blow. Selling Mario Balotelli, were that to happen, could be a different story. Balotelli can be a head case and incredibly tough to deal with, but his talent, which he put on display while featuring for Italy in the 2014 World Cup, cannot be denied.
7. Manchester City — Value: $863 million
The Abu Dhabi United Group took City over in 2008. Since that time, the club has struck footballing partnerships at both ends of the earth. City are a shareholder of Yokohoma F. Marinos of the J-League. They own a majority stake in A-League side Melbourne City. In May of 2013, it was announced that City had paired up with the New York Yankees to create Major League Soccer expansion side New York City Football Club. That MLS franchise will begin play at the start of the 2015 MLS campaign.
While City have struggled on European football’s grandest stage, they’ve enjoyed plenty of success at the domestic level. They have netted Premier League titles twice in the past three seasons. City won the FA Cup back in 2012, and they hoisted the League Cup title in 2014.
6. Chelsea — Value: $867 million
The first year of the Jose Mourinho reunion tour did not go exactly as planned. Chelsea fell off during the final third of the campaign, and, while The Blues did well to finish above several rivals, they could not get past either Liverpool or Manchester City in the Premier League table.
That said, Chelsea will again be contenders to win multiple trophies this coming season.
Their midfield is as good as is any in England. Mourinho could beat rivals for the signature of Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira. Chelsea could be on the verge of acquiring a world class defender.
All of that said, one can’t help but wonder how long the marriage between Mourinho and owner Roman Abramovich will last.
5. Arsenal — Value: $1.331 billion
Arsenal have, over the past decade, completed several smart business moves. They cashed in on a stadium naming rights deal with Emirates Airlines. They’re netting $50 million per year on a kit deal. The Gunners also rake in cash by qualifying for Champions League every season.
Arsenal could prove to be Premier League title contenders in 2014-15, and that’s even if they don’t acquire Sami Khedira during the summer transfer window. Mathieu Debuchy is an underrated signing, and he fills a hole in the squad.
Now, the Gunners just need Mesut Ozil to find his Real Madrid form.
4. Bayern Munich — Value: $1.85 billion
It must be good to be the monarch of a league.
Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund are all fine clubs, teams capable of contending for Champions League spots. Bayern are simply in a class above the rest of the league, and it’s going to be that way for the foreseeable future.
Just how stacked is this club? Toni Kroos, the best player at the World Cup according to at least one index, left Bayern to sign with the best team in the world (more on them later).
It’s a safe bet that Bayern won’t miss him as it pertains to Bundesliga play.
3. Manchester United — Value: $2.81 billion
United’s worth took a slight hit when compared with a couple of clubs located in Spain after the defending Premier League champs failed to qualify for the Champions League. Still, at a few shades under a $3 billion evaluation, the Glazer family has to be feeling pretty good about their investment.
No disrespect meant to one David Moyes, but United have upgraded in Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal did well in leading Holland on what was an unexpected World Cup run that ended one shootout shy of the Final. He will now be tasked with bringing United back to the top of the league table.
He is, on paper, the right man for the job.
2. Barcelona — Value: $3.2 billion
The sports world often witnesses drastic overreactions. Barcelona are an example of this. Following a season in which rivals Real Madrid won multiple trophies and Atletico Madrid won La Liga, some couldn’t help but wonder if this era of Barca supremacy had come to a halt.
The Barcelona brand is one of the most recognized in all of world football. Barca are expanding the Camp Nou so that it will be able to seat a total of 105,000 fans for home matches. Don’t worry about these Spanish giants.
They’re going to be just fine.
1. Real Madrid — Value: $3.44 billion
The old saying is often true when it comes to sports. The rich truly do get richer.
Roughly two months after Real Madrid hoisted the Champions League trophy, the club announced that it had acquired German World Cup star Toni Kroos. That not enough for you? Multiple outlets have reported that Real are also on the verge of signing World Cup breakout star James Rodríguez.
This comes one summer after the team broke the all-time transfer record to acquire Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. Yes, the same Bale who netted the extra-time goal that won Real the Champions League.
Oh yeah. Real still have Cristiano Ronaldo on the team.