They may have lost the championship, but Manchester United are leagues ahead of their nearest rivals when it comes to scoring big in the financial world.

Forbes Magazine estimates The Red Devils are now worth $2.23 billion, 19 percent more than second place Spanish side Real Madrid, which is worth $1.88 billion.

The news comes as the English club prepares to go public on the New York Stock exchange, after the Glazer family -- owners of the club since 2005 - filed plans in July for an IPO.

Ever since the Glazers bought Manchester United in a leveraged buyout worth $1.47 billion, the club has been plagued by debt worries and fan protest against the deal.

According to Forbes, the Glazers will sell using an unusual dual class share scheme, with the Glazer's stock worth 10 votes each compared to investor's one share one vote.

The sale is expected to relieve part of the club's enormous debt load of around $660 million.

While both the top spots are held by football teams, the rest of the list is filled with American football sides.

The New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys come in at number three ($1.85 billion), while the Washington Redskins land fifth place with a $1.56 billion valuation in the top 51 list.

Other football teams include Barcelona in eighth ($1.31 billion) and Arsenal at number 10 on $1.29 billion.

Despite the debt burden, United's high valuation is partly down to its lucrative sponsorship deals.

Insurer Aon pays $31 million a year to sponsor the team strip, while in a football first, DHL recently signed a four-year, $64 million deal to sponsor United's training tops. The kit sponsorships are on top of a 39 $million a year contract with Nike to sell merchandise until 2015.