Madrid hits gold with £43m strip deals

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Manchester United might claim to be the biggest football club in the world, and Chelsea may have the money, but Real Madrid is soaring away in terms of commercial income.

The Spanish club will earn €64m (£43m) a season from two deals for the kit, which David Beckham wears. Each shirt will bear the name of BenQ Mobile, the Taiwanese mobile telephone company, bringing in €24m per season. Real Madrid also gets €40m a year from Adidas, which makes the club's all-white strip.

A survey by the Spanish newspaper ABC found that none of the other leading European clubs came anywhere near Real Madrid in terms of cash generated from shirt deals.

Chelsea, whose blue shirts carry the name of Samsung, came fourth, making £10m. Manchester United, recently overtaken by Real Madrid as the world's wealthiest football club, earns £9m a season from its Vodafone deal.

In second place came Italian champions Juventus. The club is paid £14.7m by the oil company Tamoil, which is owned by Al Saadi Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Gaddafis also own 7 per cent of the club.

Bayern Munich earns £11.4m a year from a deal with T-Mobile, the German group.

Real Madrid has also just signed a deal with China's largest financial firm, Citic Group. The club will provide "sports, technological, trade, strategic and management support" to the Beijing team Guoan and to Chinese football. In return, Citic Group will promote the Real Madrid brand in China. But Real Madrid denied reports that it had bought any stake in the Chinese club.

The deal comes after the Madrid club's deadly rivals, Barcelona FC, signed a controversial £67m deal in May to promote the Beijing 2008 Olympics on their shirts. The club was criticised because of China's human rights record.

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