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Luis Suárez, Neymar Jr and Lionel Messi celebrate a goal against Atlético Madrid. / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The prestigious American magazine Forbes, which specialises in the world of business and finance, has published its annual study, where it analyses the financial value of the biggest football clubs in the world, and where FC Barcelona’s staggering economic development is patently clear, with the club now valued at 3.163 billion dollars, just 100 million short of Real Madrid, the smallest gap for the last five years.

In the last five years, FC Barcelona has risen from 5th to 2nd in the ranking of the world’s most valuable clubs after tripling its value, and is poised to take over at top spot in future studies. In three years, FC Barcelona’s value has risen by 21.5% while Real Madrid’s has dropped by 1.5%.

In the 2013/14 season, FC Barcelona had an income of 530 million dollars, its highest ever, and a profit of 41 million, the second highest in club history. In four years, its debt has been reduced by 143 million.

FC Barcelona’s financial progress as it bids to become the world’s number one club is best illustrated by the gap between itself and the club that has been in the number one position over the last five years.

In 2010, the distance was 835 million dollars; in 2011 it was 889 million; in 2012 it was 920 million; in 2013 it was 700 million; in 2014 it was 240 million; and this year it is just 100 million.

The Forbes report also mentions the huge opportunities for FC Barcelona to increase its value in the forthcoming years, including the renewal of the shirt contract and its sponsorship, and the investment in the new Espai Barça, the ambitious project to redevelop the club facilities, which should both have a significantly positive impact on income.

FC Barcelona are followed by Manchester United, valued at 3.104 billion dollars; Bayern Munich, at 2.347 billion; Manchester City, at 1.375 billion; Chelsea, at 1.370 billion; Arsenal, at 1.307 billion; Liverpool, at 982 million; Juventus, at 837 million; and AC Milan, at 775 million.

Statement by Javier Faus, first and economic vice-president of FC Barcelona:

“We are very pleased to consolidate this second position and be even closer still to the world leadership. We are the club that has grown the most and that has the most capacity to continue growing. And that’s at a time when there is strong competition from the Premier League and the new financers and fortunes that are coming into the world of football”.

“This is a group success, the result of doing such a fine job over the last ten years, which combines the fact that the club is owned by its own members, who are so firmly rooted in the territory, and the fact that the club is so global, open and professionalised. And yet the goal in itself has never been to make money, but to be an instrument to continue investing in the football first team, the other sports teams, the Foundation, the Ciutat Esportiva, the Masia, the Espai Barça, and to continue reducing the oversized debt we had. And, in short, to continue offering a service to our members and fans”.

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