Revealed: Richest football club in the world and cost per trophy

The current richest football club in the world, according to Deloitte's Football Money League, is Real Madrid. They are then followed by Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona and Manchester United.

There are no surprises there though, so here we will analyse more closely if these clubs' spending power has helped or hindered them in recent years, as we look more specifically at their net spend over the last five years, and the trophies they have won in this period.

Richest football club in the world and cost per trophy – Power Rankings

To make this a fair test, these do not include pre-season silverware, and we are taking the net spend since 1st July 2019. If they weren't averting their eyes on Monday night, Manchester United fans may want to look away now.

Antony is just one of many expensive signings that have not worked out at Old Trafford – Photo by Icon Sport

5. Manchester United

  • Net spend since July 2019: £595.9m
  • Trophies since July 2019: 1
  • Cost per trophy: £595.9m

Manchester United have endured a largely miserable last five years, to the point where they have felt the need to change the ownership of the club and head in a different direction. This may include getting rid of Erik ten Hag too, as they have done with a lot of managers in recent history.

The Red Devils are on course to miss out on European football altogether for only the second time in the Premier League era, and while they do have an FA Cup final to look forward to, they will be huge underdogs against neighbours Manchester City.

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Barcelona won the La Liga title in 2022/23 – Photo by Icon Sport

4. Barcelona

  • Net spend since July 2019: £136.7m
  • Trophies since July 2019: 3
  • Cost per trophy: £45.6m

Barcelona have been in financial trouble over the last few years, hence why their net spend is not very high for a club of its size and stature. They reluctantly sold their star player and poster boy Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, and have been trying to build the club up again without him.

Messi's former Barca teammate Xavi is in charge at the Camp Nou, and he won the La Liga title in the 2022/23 season, but in 2023/24, arch rivals Real Madrid have beaten them to it.

Can PSG win their first-ever Champions League title? – Bagu Blanco / Pressinphoto – Photo by Icon Sport

3. Paris Saint-Germain

  • Net spend since July 2019: £391.6m
  • Trophies since July 2019: 11
  • Cost per trophy: £35.6m

PSG have been dominating French football for years now, hence the number of trophies that they have won. The one major piece of silverware that still alludes them to this day though is the UEFA Champions League, which they exited on Tuesday night after failing to crack Dortmund's stubborn defence.

Nonetheless, their cost per trophy is lower than both Manchester United and Barcelona's, which suggests that they are still getting their money's worth.

Cuántos títulos tiene el Manchester City
Manchester City won the Champions League for the first time in their history to complete a remarkable treble – AP | Dutch Height | MAURICE OF STONE – Photo by Icon Sport

2. Manchester City

  • Net spend since July 2019: £326m
  • Trophies since July 2019: 10
  • Cost per trophy: £32.6m

Manchester City were the richest football club in the world in 2023, but have been overtaken by Real Madrid in 2024. Still, they have had a remarkable last few years under Pep Guardiola, capping it off with a treble-winning season in 2022/23.

They cannot quite do that in 2023/24 after ironically being knocked out by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final stage, but they can still win the Premier League and FA Cup as part of a domestic double.

Jude Bellingham player to watch
Jude Bellingham has been one of many successful signings for Real Madrid – Federico Titone / SOPA Images/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon Sport

1. Real Madrid

  • Net spend since July 2019: £149.2m
  • Trophies since July 2019: 10
  • Cost per trophy: £14.9m

Real Madrid are top of the money league, and have also spent their money the most wisely based on their cost per trophy. They have the second-lowest net spend of the top five over the last five years, and have won the joint-second most trophies.

Los Blancos could even add to that if they end up winning the Champions League in 2023/24. They are, after all, the record holders of the competition, and would be massive favourites in the final if they negotiate tonight's clash with Bayern Munich.


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Adam Clancy

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.