Is Real Madrid now the world's 'biggest club'?

Spanish Primera Liga club Real Madrid claims to have overtaken Manchester United as the biggest money-makers in soccer. For the year ended 30 June 2005 the club's income increased 17 percent to £183.8 million, according to the UK's Daily Telegraph, quoted by Sport Business. ManU's financials will not be known until next April but Madrid's figures are well ahead of what the English Premier League club earned in the year to 31 July 2004, when income was £169 million.

In the five years since Florentino Perez was elected president of Real Madrid, revenue from sponsorship and merchandising has tripled following the signing of so-called 'galacticos' such as Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham. "We want Real Madrid to remain a club that belongs to everyone," Perez announced at a members' meeting. "But in order to compete with clubs that have owners who give them all the money they want we have to adopt an economic model that will give us enough income to cover all our outgoings. Our aim is to be a universal club and that means attracting more fans from around the world to make us stronger. Real Madrid is not obsessed with economic results alone, but our economic stability will guarantee our freedom in the future."