Spanish super weight Real Madrid and Premier League giant Manchester United have been ranked the most valuable clubs in football, according to a study by one of the Big Four audit firms KPMG.

The valuations for the clubs were at least £2.5billion at the end of 2016. Both clubs were ranked ahead of La Liga champions Barcelona – though they followed closely at £2.4billion.

German champions Bayern Munich came at a distant fourth with valuation of £1.89billon. Arsenal made the top five most valuable clubs with worth of £1.45billion.

The report might be surprising to some considering that Manchester United have struggled with getting the results since the retirement of long time manager Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

“It’s a study that associates several criteria. These include the popularity of the clubs with their number of followers on social media, their sporting potential given the value of their players, TV rights and their ownership situation, notably the stadiums,” an analyst from KPMG explained.

Despite falling from grace, United have remained relevant, keeping the brands active. Last summer, the club splashed the cash to bring the best players to the club. Some rating agencies and soccer analyst have rated them the number one brand this year.

Aside Man United and Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool also ranked very high in the valuations by KPMG. The guys at the Etihad were valued at £1.4billion, Stamford Bridge £1.43 billion and Anfield £1.1billon. The clubs made the Premier League the most valuable league in the world.

This goes to prove that off-the-field activities are equally as important if not more important that the primary goals of football clubs in building their brands.