Last updated : 13 September 2004 By editor

'Real Madrid have a potential worldwide fan base of half a billion people, according to research published today,' reports The Times.

Global Football Monitor, by Sport+Markt, found that 490 million were "very interested" in the Spanish club, whose stars include Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo.

Previous research showed that Real were the best supported club in the key European markets of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with in excess of 31 million fans more than Manchester United’s 14.2 million. Now the global reach of the Bernabéu has eclipsed that of Old Trafford. United have 350 million potential fans, according to the survey, which involved more than 13,000 interviews in 13 markets. Even in the UK, 14 per cent of 15 to 69-year-olds were potential Real fans, just 6 per cent fewer than United.

The survey will please Florentino Pérez, the newly re-elected Real president, who this season has added Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate to the club’s payroll. Real are budgeting for revenues of €300 million (about £204 million), a 29 per cent year-on-year increase, of which €137.1 million will be marketing-generated.'