|Two of Real Madrid's superstars midfielder Kaka(L) and Cristiano Ronaldo in February 2010. AFP photo|
LONDON (AFP) – Real Madrid have become the first sports team in the world to generate annual revenue in excess of 400 million euros (362 million pounds, 543 million dollars), according to figures compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte.
The latest edition of the Deloitte Football Money League published on Tuesday also shows Spanish giants Real as the world's largest revenue generating football club, for the fifth consecutive year.
Real's broadcast income of 161 million euros was greater than the total revenue of all but the top ten clubs in the Deloitte table.
Their arch domestic rivals Barcelona moved up into second place, primarily as a result of winning last year's Champions League final while Barca's beaten opponents Manchester United dropped down into third position, partly as a result of sterling's depreciation against the Euro.
Although the Premier League saw Portsmouth enter administration last week, and doubts persist over the huge debts being carried by United, who recently launched a 500 million pounds bond issue scheme, seven English clubs feature in Deloitte's top 20 with Arsenal moving up into fifth place.
Figures in the report showed the world's most financially successful football clubs had managed to weather problems caused by the global economic downturn.
Overall revenues for the top 20 clubs increased in 2008/09 and were over 3.9 billion euros, as, the report said "top clubs showed relative resistance to the economic downturn".
Dan Jones, partner in Deloitte's sport business group, said: "Real Madrid's 10 percent increase in revenue to 401 million euros (342 million pounds) came despite a relatively disappointing season domestically and in Europe.
"Broadcast income provided Real with its largest increase in revenue, and at 161 million euros (137 million pounds) is now greater than the total revenue of all but the top ten Money League clubs.
"Barcelona's unprecedented on-pitch success, winning a domestic double and the Champions League, helped drive a revenue increase by 57 million euros, the largest absolute increase of any Money League club, to 366 million euros.
"This resulted in a Spanish one-two at the top of the Money League as, like in Rome last May, Barcelona proved just too strong for Manchester United. United slip to third and, like other English clubs, were impacted by the continuing depreciation of the Pound Sterling against the Euro.
"The scale of this is shown by the fact that if exchange rates remained at their June 2007 level, United would be top of the Money League table."
Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Newcastle, despite being in the second-tier Championship, were the other English clubs in the top 20.
UEFA chief Michel Platini has repeatedly hit out at 'financial doping' of clubs, in moves seen as thinly veiled attacks on the financial structure of several leading English teams.
But Jones said: "Whilst there has been much recent comment on the finances of English football clubs, we believe the fundamentals of football remain strong.
"Financial problems experienced at the very highest level are far more likely to be a result of mismanagement, weak cost control or a lack of available credit than any problems with revenue generation."
All of the 'big five' European leagues featured in the list with Germany contributing five clubs, Italy four, and France and Spain represented by two teams each.