Real Madrid have removed the Christian cross from their club crest as part of a lucrative three-year deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
It is believed the European champions’ new crest, minus the cross, was created so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where a marketing drive will take place.
Club president Florentino Perez labelled the deal as a “strategic alliance with one of the most prestigious institutions in the world”.
But the redesigning of the famous club badge shows, according to Spanish sports paper Marca, how far top clubs are willing to go, including sacrificing part of their famous identity, to generate new revenue streams.
A new credit card, which doubles as a Real Madrid membership card, was paraded by Perez where the new design is clearly seen.
The importance of the deal was underlined by the wheeling out of a multinational gathering of the club’s stars, including Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal (Spain), Toni Kroos (Germany) and Karim Benzema (France).
The 10-times European Cup winners, revealed the new design with no fanfare, with images only emerging now, despite the “strategic alliance” being signed off in September.
“I know that the local people experience every match in a special way and that our links with the UAE are constantly growing stronger,” Perez said recently. “This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.”
The original logo, which will still be used in Europe, is pictured, left, complete with the tiny Christian cross on the top.