Real awash with moolah

LONDON - Real Madrid remain top of football's money league but Manchester United are closing the gap and could reclaim the number one spot by winning this season's Champions League.

Real and United were the only two clubs on the planet to generate revenues in excess of ß300 million (about R3 billion) over the course of the 2006-07 season, according to figures compiled by business advisory firm Deloitte published yesterday.

The survey reflects the growing financial muscle of the English Premier League's leading clubs with Chelsea and Arsenal joining United among the top five clubs in terms of revenues generated.

But it also highlights a renaissance in the financial fortunes of German clubs, with four of them in the top 20 for the first time on the back of the 2006 World Cup, which they hosted. It left a legacy of bigger and better stadiums as well as raising interest in the Bundesliga.

Arsenal were the biggest climbers in the table, rising four places to fifth spot with the help of increased match-day revenue following their August 2006 move from Highbury to the 60 000-capacity Emirates Stadium.

Chelsea rose two places to fourth while Barcelona slipped from second to third.

Juventus dropped to 12th after being relegated from Serie A. - Sapa-AFP