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The most popular sport on the planet, soccer – or football, as it's known in Europe – is a multi-billion dollar business.

Europe is by far the most lucrative market in the world, home to world class stars such as Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Players of Ronaldo and Messi's stature command huge transfer fees, earn astronomical amounts of cash, and perform in front of a global TV audience every week, delighting fans with their exploits on the pitch.

The financial rewards for Europe's top clubs are lucrative, too. The winner of this season's UEFA Champions League – Europe's premier club competition – could eventually collect 37.4 million euros ($50.7 million), not counting money from TV rights.

UEFA – European soccer's governing body – estimates that gross commercial revenue from the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup is 1.34 billion euros ($1.82 billion).

The Deloitte Football Money League profiles the game's highest earning teams, and is regarded as the most up-to-date and reliable analysis of a club's financial performance.

We've ranked the ten best financial performers for the 2012/13 season. We've converted figures from euros and pounds to dollars based on the current exchange rate.

By Anmar Frangoul, Special to CNBC.com

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