When measured in 2018/2019, the Stastista.com website reported that the European football industry was worth approximately 28.9 billion euros. More recent figures for the 2023/2023 season show the top 5 nations earnings as follows:
- England €6.2 billion
- Spain €3.7 billion
- Germany €3.2 billion
- Italy €2.7 billion
- France €2.3 billion
It would have of course been even higher but for the COVID19 pandemic which has decimated sports worldwide. It has hit football particularly hard. The sport came to a complete halt for several months, and even now is suffering financially with many games still being played behind closed stadium doors.
Deloitte has recently published a report on the top 20 richest teams, and it makes for some very interesting reading, starting with their statement that the top 20 wealthiest clubs will have lost more than €2-billion by the end of the current season. Let’s take a look at what is happening on a club by club basis, starting with the richest club in Europe – Barcelona.
Barcelona – Worth €715-million
Futbol Club Barcelona is the richest football club in Europe. However, in the last year, they have lost a whopping €125-million. This loss is more than many other first-class teams are worth.
However, it’s not just their finances that are suffering – so too are the Blaugrana’s performances on the field of play. At the time of writing, Barca are lying in third place in the La Liga table, behind Atletico Madrid in first and Real Madrid in second.
Although they have scored 49 goals, more than another La Liga side – the next highest scoring team is Atletico Madrid with 44 goals – their defence has conceded 21 – more than any of the top 5 clubs in the league. They have also just been beaten 4-1 at home in the Champions League by PSG. If they exit the competition, their finances will suffer even more.
Real Madrid – Worth €714.9-million
The second richest club in Europe by a trifling €0.1-million, Los Blancos are close to coming closer to regaining the richest club in Europe title; only losing €39-million more than they did in the previous year. It’s thanks in the main to some astute cost-cutting and an increase of 8% in the club’s profits from merchandising.
League-wise, Real are sitting in second place at the time of this article’s publication, with 49 points. The problem is that league leaders Atletico Madrid have two games in hand. The 5-point gap could potentially widen to an 11-point gap, seriously questioning any hopes of becoming league champions.
Bayern Munich – Worth €634.1-million
Third place in the richest club in Europe stakes goes to Bundesliga side, Bayern Munich. It’s the first time in the club’s history that they have reached a top 3 place in terms of financial standing. They owe this rise in the main to a spike in merchandising sales, thanks to the team’s recent performances.
They are top of the Bundesliga table, and the standout statistic is the 61 goals they have scored in 21 games. Of course, they have a certain Robert Lewandowski to thank for that. The Polish striker has scored 26 of those 61 goals and had an assist in 5 more. In other words, he has had a hand in over 50% of Bayern’s goal tally this season.
Manchester United – €580-million
Having been the richest club in Europe back in 2017, United have slowly slid down the money rankings and are now only the fourth richest club. In the last year, they lost €135-million – even more than Barcelona. It represents a drop in income of around 19% over the previous year.
United are currently second in the EPL table. They have scored an impressive 50 goals, but the thing holding them back has been the number of goals their defence has conceded. It’s 31 – more than twice the number of goals that rivals and league leaders Manchester City have conceded.
Liverpool – €558-million
The Reds are one of the big successes in terms of financial standing. Back in 2017, Liverpool was the 9th richest club, but a string of impressive results, including lifting the Champions League title last season, has seen them climb in the fiscal rankings into fifth place, just €22-million behind Manchester United.
But on the field, they have suffered a recent run of three losses on-the-trot. It has knocked them out of the EPL title race, for now, leaving them sitting in 6th position. Not only are they 13 points behind league leaders Manchester City they have also played one more game than City, so their challenge appears to be over.
However, they did revive their fortunes in the Champions League recently with a 2-0 win away at German side, RB Leipzig.
Manchester City – €549.2-million
In 6th place, we have Manchester City a result that is due in the main to the great job that manager Pep Guardiola has done since being appointed in 2016. Not only are City 7 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester United and Leicester City, but they also have a game in hand over both.
It is their defensive record that stands out, thanks in part to one of the Premier Leagues greatest goalkeepers according to Sportingbet.com, the Brazilian, Ederson Santana de Moraes, more commonly known simply as Ederson. This season he has kept 14 clean sheets, far more than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League.
According to statistics compiled by Sportingbet last season, Ederson has managed to keep 55 clean sheets in 116 appearances – a percentage of 47.4%. The only goalie to better that was Liverpool keeper, Allinson, with a clean-sheet statistic of 49.3%. But this season, Ederson’s percentage has soared to 65%, while Allison’s has plummeted to just over 20%
Spare a thought for Goalkeepers like Ederson
It’s not often that goalkeepers get the headlines or the recognition that they deserve. Speak of Barcelona, and the name that springs to mind is Lionel Messi. With Real Madrid, it’s Benzema and Modric. Say Bayern Munich, and it’s Robert Lewandowski; Manchester United – Bruno Fernandes., and with Liverpool, it’s Mo Salah.
Manchester City have some great names too, including Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, but it’s the name of Ederson Santana de Moraes that surely has to be celebrated too.