Manchester United have been backed to challenge Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for the title of richest club in the world by business advisory firm Deloitte.

The latest Deloitte Football Money League saw United slip two places to fourth in the table for the 2005/06 season. Although they were the highest-ranked of eight English clubs in the top 20, their annual revenue of £167.8million was some way short of first-placed Real (£202m) and runners-up Barcelona (£179.1m).

Alan Switzer, a senior consultant for Deloitte, told PA Sport: "There´s a couple of reasons why they´ve fallen down to fourth but it isn´t so much their performance, it´s more the [impressive] performances of their rivals."

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