Barcelona tops the Forbes list of the world’s 20 most valuable soccer teams for the first time, knocking Real Madrid to No. 2.

Barcelona is valued at $4.76 billion, just nudging out Real Madrid at $4.75 billion.

The top spot had been monopolized by two teams for the previous 16 years, with Real Madrid taking it five times and England’s Manchester United 11 times.

Barcelona’s rise comes as the club has been caught in a public fight with superstar Lionel Messi, the world’s highest-paid player, who threatened to leave last year before the final season under his contract. The months-long cliffhanger ended with Messi staying put and the team’s president resigning.

The world’s 20 most valuable soccer teams are worth an average of $2.28 billion apiece, an increase of 30% from two years ago, the last time we published the ranking.

The jump comes despite a decline in revenue caused by limited attendance during the pandemic, with buyers focused on what they see as still untapped revenue potential in the sport’s massive global following.

Average revenue for the 20 teams was $441 million for the 2019-20 season, down 9.6% from 2017-18, while average operating income fell by 70% over the period to $23 million. The pain is far from over, with a worsening decline in match-day revenue during the current season as most of the teams in Europe’s top leagues still permit few fans to attend games.

World’s most valuable soccer clubs — Forbes

1. Barcelona: $4.76bn

2. Real Madrid: $4.75bn

3. Bayern Munich: $4.215bn

4. Manchester United: 4.2bn

5. Liverpool: $4.1bn

6. Manchester City: $4.0bn

7. Chelsea: $3.2bn

8. Arsenal: $2.8bn

9. Paris St-Germain: $2.5bn

10. Tottenham: $2.3bn

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