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Superkids help Barcelona pip Manchester United in global popularity stakes

Barcelona have dislodged Manchester United in the global popularity stakes - thanks in part to their thriving youth system - reveals the 2008 release of the University of Navarra's highly respected study into the media popularity of clubs and players.

Thanks to the emergence of Spanish teenager Bojan Krkic, Barca have become the most-talked about club this season - ahead of Manchester United, AC Milan and Chelsea. Barca's Spanish Liga rivals Real Madrid have dropped to fifth place on the table.

The study reveals that homegrown players can prove more valuable for selling the club than outside signings. Footballers that breakthrough into the first team from a respective club's junior setup enjoy 16.6 per cent of total media exposure.

With the likes of Krkic, Giovani dos Santos and Lionel Messi all coming through the system at Barca, this enabled the Catalan giants to dominate the global media in the past year. The Navarre study rates Barca's youth system as the most valuable at £120 million. Real Madrid's is rated No2 at £50 million and Roma's third at a value of £40 million. The report notes clubs "harm their own interests" by valuing their big-money signings more highly than homegrown players when it comes to marketing appeal.

Rank 2008TeamLeagueMedia value
for 2007
1BarcelonaSpanish Liga3
2Manchester UnitedPremiership1
3AC MilanSerie A5
5Real MadridSpanish Liga4
8Inter MilanSerie A7
9RomaSerie A10
10Olympique LyonLigue Une13

Television paying over odds for Italian rights

The report, put together by the University of Navarra's Francesc Pujol and Pedro Garcia del Barrio, also reveals the Premiership boasts 33 per cent of total money derived from media rights. The Spanish Liga is second with 22.4 per cent and Italy's Serie A third on 17.7 per cent.

Interestingly, it's noted that the television rights paid for Serie A is over the odds when compared with the media space that is granted the Italian competition around the world. Thus, leagues from Italy, Germany and France enjoy television revenues much higher than the value they generate in the broad media, when compared to the Spanish Liga and English Premiership.

Carlos Tevez adds individual value to Manchester United

Manchester United's swoop for Carlos Tevez has proved a masterstroke - on and off the pitch. The Navarre report lists three United players in the top ten of the most talked about for the past year. Cristiano Ronaldo held onto No1 spot, with Wayne Rooney dropping from No2 to No5 for 2008.

Tevez was the biggest mover within the top ten, going from 38th while with West Ham last season to No8 this past year. The Argentina striker is a huge name in South America thanks to his time with Boca Juniors and Brazil's Corinthians - and his popularity has now exploded on the back of his success at Old Trafford this term.

Fernando Torres' move from Atletico Madrid to Liverpool - and his wonderful goal scoring success this season - has also boosted his profile in the last 12 months around the world. The Spaniard jumped to No12 from last year's rating of 61st.

Rank 08 (07)PlayerTeamLeagueCountry
1 (1)Cristiano RonaldoManchester UtdPremiershipPOR
2 (3)RonaldinhoBarcelonaSpanish LigaBRA
3 (12)Lionel MessiBarcelonaSpanish LigaARG
4 (8)KakaAC MilanSerie ABRA
5 (2)Wayne RooneyManchester UtdPremiershipENG
6 (4)David BeckhamLA GalaxyMLSENG
7 (6)Didier DrogbaChelseaPremiershipIV.C
8 (38)Carlos TevezManchester UtdPremiershipARG
9 (10)Steven GerrardLiverpoolPremiershipENG
10 (3)Thierry HenryBarcelonaSpanish LigaFRA
11 (6)RonaldoAC MilanSerie ABRA
12 (61)Fernando TorresLiverpoolPremiershipSPA
13 (15)Francesco TottiRomaSerie AITA
14 (18)RaulReal MadridSpanish LigaSPA
15 (52)Cesc FabregasArsenalPremiershipSPA
16 (29)John TerryChelseaPremiershipENG
17 (11)Frank LampardChelseaPremiershipENG
18 (14)Samuel Eto'oBarcelonaSpanish LigaCAM
19 (16)AdrianoInter MilanSerie ABRA
20 (45)RobinhoReal MadridSpanish LigaBRA
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