London - Manchester United became the world's second highest-earning club last season despite a disastrous campaign on the pitch, financial consultants Deloitte revealed in their latest Football Money League published on Thursday.
The 2013/14 season was United's first since the retirement of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson and saw them slump to a seventh-place finish in the English Premier League, with Ferguson's successor David Moyes losing his job.
It meant United missed out on a place in the Champions League, but revenues of €518 million saw them climb to second place behind Real Madrid in the list of world football's top-earning clubs.
"Despite a poor on-pitch season in 2013-14, United's commercial strategy of securing global and regional partners is delivering substantial growth," said Deloitte senior manager Austin Houlihan.
"Commercial revenue has grown 83 percent in the last three years. Thanks to the latest Premier League media deals, broadcast revenue also increased 34 percent to €162.3 million.
"Their absence this season from European competition will be felt in next year's Money League position, but if they can return to the Champions League in 2015-16 there is a strong possibility they could be top in two years' time."
With revenues of €549.5 million, Real Madrid topped the chart for the 10th season running, after a year in which they claimed their 10th Champions League crown, known as 'La Decima'.
The club witnessed revenue growth of €30.6 million due to increases of €15.9 million in broadcast revenue and €19.9 million in commercial revenue.
The other clubs in the top 10 were Bayern Munich, Barcelona, who slipped from second place to fourth, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus.
Overall, revenue for the top 20 highest-earning clubs reached €6.2 billion, which represented a 14 percent rise on the previous year.
"The growth experienced within the top 20 has been remarkable," said Dan Jones from Deloitte's Sports Business Group.
"Although only Manchester United and Real Madrid have gone past the €500 million revenue marker so far, we predict that all of the top five clubs may reach that point by next year."
Bumper broadcast rights deals meant that there were eight clubs from the money-spinning Premier League in the top 20, with all 20 teams who competed in the English top flight last season making it into the top 40.
"The fact that all the clubs in the Premier League are in the top 40 is testament to the huge appeal of the league globally and also the equality of the distributions the clubs enjoy relative to their European counterparts," explained Houlihan.
"Additionally, the Premier League is currently negotiating for the next cycle of media rights and further uplifts are anticipated."
Turkish giants Galatasaray, ranked 18th, were the only team from outside Europe's traditional 'top five' leagues - Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France - to feature in the top 40.
Top 20 clubs in Deloitte Football Money League 2013/14 (2012/13 position and revenue in brackets):
1. (1) Real Madrid (ESP) €549.5 (518.9)
2. (4) Manchester United (ENG) €518.0 (423.8)
3. (3) Bayern Munich (GER) €487.5 (431.2)
4. (2) FC Barcelona (ESP) €484.6 (482.6)
5. (5) Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) €474.2 (398.8)
6. (6) Manchester City (ENG) €414.4 (316.2)
7. (7) Chelsea (ENG) €387.9 (303.4)
8. (8) Arsenal (ENG) €359.3 (284.3)
9. (12) Liverpool (ENG) €305.9 (240.6)
10. (9) Juventus (ITA) €279.4 (272.4)
11. (11) Borussia Dortmund (GER) €261.5 (256.2)
12. (10) AC Milan (ITA) €249.7 (263.5)
13. (14) Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) €215.8 (172.0)
14. (13) Schalke 04 (GER) €213.9 (198.2)
15. (20) Atletico Madrid (ESP) €169.9 (120.0)
16. (New) Napoli (ITA) €164.8 (116.4)
17. (15) Inter Milan (ITA) €164.0 (164.5)
18. (16) Galatasaray (TUR) €161.9 (157.0)
19. (new) Newcastle United (ENG) €155.1 (111.9)
20. (new) Everton (ENG) €144.1 (100.8)