Spanish clubs have once again dominated the world of club soccer in 2016. Two rivals from Madrid will face off in a Champions League rematch to finish off the 2015-16 European calendar. A pair of rivals from Spain also happen to once again be the two richest clubs in the world per information that was released by Forbes in the spring of 2016. That should not be a surprise to anybody who has actively followed the sport over the years, as those two teams have dominated the financial landscape of the world of sports throughout the decade. That will likely continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.
It is not, however, all familiar names and traditional giants of the sport that are mentioned among the ten most valuable soccer teams this year. The list begins with a team that is making a return to the top club competition in the world and one that is hoping to cement its status among the best clubs in all of England. Will this club from North London become a mainstay among the most valuable soccer teams in the world, or is the team headed toward a certain let-down similar to others that are all-too familiar to those who are passionate about the club? We shall see sooner rather than later.
10 Tottenham Hotspur: $1.02 Billion
Don't look now, but Tottenham Hotspur are marching up the ranks of the most valuable soccer teams in the world. Spurs will be making a return to the Champions League following an excellent Premier League campaign that saw them in contention for the league title up through the start of May. Tottenham have also come to terms on a deal with the National Football League on a new stadium that will benefit Spurs and the NFL, hopefully for years to come. How Tottenham build on their financial and on-the-pitch successes between now and the end of the decade will determine where Spurs are on future lists.
9 Juventus: $1.3 Billion
No disrespect meant to the other clubs that are in the Serie A, but we cannot envision any team in the league overtaking Juventus anytime soon. Juve were once again the undisputed kings of Italian top-flight soccer, and it seems that it is a matter of when and not if Juventus will have three-dozen league titles in their large trophy case. The next goal for Juventus should be to reclaim their spot as the best overall club in Europe. While there was no shame in losing to Barcelona in the Champions League Final, Juventus were far from stellar in Europe's top competition this past season.
8 Liverpool: $1.55 Billion
The Fenway Sports Group property should not be hurting for money anytime soon, and not just because the club's owners have deep pockets. Manager Jurgen Klopp guided Liverpool to a sort of European glory, as the club is, as of May 17, one victory away from winning the Europa League competition. Such a positive result would allow Liverpool with an opportunity to return to the group stage of the Champions League. Klopp has quickly become a beloved figure among Liverpool supporters, and his legend at the club will only grow if the Champions League theme is heard at Anfield later on in 2016.
7 Chelsea: $1.66 Billion
Remember back in the summer of 2015 when just about every assumed that Chelsea would, at worst, be near the top of the Premier League table by May? Nobody expected that Chelsea would experience a disastrous start to the campaign that saw the Blues threaten to be relegation candidates. While Chelsea were never really all that close to going down, 2015-16 will not be a year that supporters of the club will remember fondly. Stamford Bridge will not be home to any Champions League football next season, something that is completely unacceptable for such a big club that has been willing to break the bank during transfer windows.
6 Manchester City: $1.92 Billion
Manchester City had a roller coaster up-and-down campaign in 2015-16. City were one of several teams unable to catch up with either Premier League champions Leicester City or Tottenham Hotspur. The season was not a total loss for City, though, as the club made it to the semi final round of the Champions League. City Football Group has not been shy about spending money and by putting its footprint in countries around the world, including in Australia and the United States. That's all well and good, but parent club City have to do better in England for such investments to be worth the while.
5 Arsenal: $2.02 Billion
Arsenal fans had a lot to complain about in 2015-16. The Gunners are routinely known for having the most expensive ticket in the Premier League. It appears that the club is merely spinning its wheels and going nowhere in a hurry, while clubs such as Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur made noticeable moves in the right direction. The Emirates will continue to be a financial gem for Arsenal, and Arsenal will remain in the Champions League for at least one more season. Some Arsenal supporters would say, however, that the club needs to have bigger goals, such as winning the Premier League, in the future.
4 Bayern Munich: $2.68 Billion
The first team that may come to mind when you think of Bayern Munich could be Juventus. Both Bayern and Juventus are the reigning kings of their league competitions, both are worth over $1 billion, and both have made themselves mainstays in the Champions League. Both, however, have also disappointed as of late when playing in Europe. Bayern's Champions League victory from a few seasons ago has become a distant memory, as the top clubs in Spain have undeniably leapfrogged the best team from Germany. Winning the Bundesliga has become commonplace for Bayern, but they need to achieve more success in Europe if they are to match the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
3 Manchester United: $3.32 Billion
Regardless of the team's lackluster results on the pitch throughout the 2015-16 campaign, Manchester United continue to be the biggest club in England. Truth be told, there really isn't a close to second to United in the country. United have, over the years, done well to grow massive fan bases around the world, and it is routinely said that United are the most popular soccer club among fans living in the United States. One has to wonder if those fans will sour on United if the Red Devils continue to be on the outside looking in as it pertains to Premier League titles and Champions League spots.
2 Barcelona: $3.56 Billion
One season after Barcelona won the treble of the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles, they were unable to make a return to the Champions League Final. Barcelona will just have to deal with winning the La Liga title and making the Copa del Rey Final for the 2015-16 campaign. Barcelona may, before all is said and done, win the double, but the luster of those accomplishments could be somewhat lost if their hated rivals emerge victorious on the last day of the European season. Regardless of what happens before the end of May, Barcelona will continue to be one of the biggest clubs in the world for a long, long time.
1 Real Madrid: $3.65 Billion
Just when it seemed as if Real Madrid were about to be eclipsed by Barcelona, Real, the biggest club in the world and the world's most expensive team, qualified for the 2016 Champions League Final. It is nearly impossible to speak or write about Real without mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is unquestionably one of the best players in the world, and he had another spectacular season. There will eventually come a time, though, when Ronaldo looks to take his talents elsewhere. The question will then become: Who will be the superstar who replaces Ronaldo as the biggest name in the sport?