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Man Utd leading world sport's brand whilst Man City break top ten

Manchester United remains the most valuable brand in world football, according to the latest annual figures revealed within the Brand Finance Football 50 rankings, reports Sports Business. United remains the most valuable brand in world football with a value of US$853million, the study said, citing strong income from TV rights, gate receipts and merchandise supplemented by a firmly-established global appeal, guaranteeing a broad revenue base.

Rivals Manchester City, bolstered by an estimated $1.5billion of investment since Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi took control of the club in September 2008, breaks into the top 10 of the brand valuation consultancy's rankings with a climb from 11th to eighth. At $302million, City's brand is worth almost double its 2011 reading.

Beaten Champions League finalists Bayern Munchen value now stands at $786 million. Bayern overtakes Spanish giants Real Madrid ($600 million) and Barcelona ($580 million) to move up to second behind United thanks to a strategy focused heavily on its domestic market. The storied Bavarian club boasts the highest commercial revenues in the rankings - $254 million.

As illustrated by Real and Barcelona, Spanish clubs fared poorly due to economic turmoil at home. It was a similar problem for Italian clubs, with attendances in a passionate football country down as unemployment rose.

Champions League winner Chelsea ($398 million) completes the top five ahead of Arsenal in sixth ($388 million) and Carling Cup victor Liverpool ($367 million). AC Milan ($292 million) is the highest ranked Italian club and completes the top 10 with Schalke 04 ($266 million) - the Bundesliga club enjoying a 97% rise in brand value.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said: "This year's study shows that even football isn't immune to the Euro crisis, with Spanish and Italian teams being hit hardest. The two top teams operate different marketing strategies, Bayern prioritising its domestic fan base whilst United concentrate on global opportunities."

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Dave Williams

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