For over a century club bosses stubbornly resisted the march of time and capitalism to keep their team strip sponsor-free, at a time when every other club from football's upper echelons right down to your average Sunday League side had given in to financial expediency. To be fair this may have profited them, with their logo-free red-and-blue-striped tops taking on something of an iconic status worldwide, and it was always assumed that when they did eventually sell out they would be all set to command unparelleled sums for the taking of their sponsorship virginity.
Instead, quite without warning, Barcelona's top brass have gone in a very different direction. Last Thursday, president Joan Laporta signed up to a five-year collaborative agreement with UNICEF that will see Barcelona not only sport the children's charity's banner on its shirts, which they did for the first time yesterday night against Levski Sofia, but also contribute just over £1m to its humanitarian projects each year. Obviously that sort of money is barely going to register a dent in the club's finances, but if you take into account how much they could have made from selling to a conventional sponsor (surely even more than Juventus's £15m-a-year deal with Tamoil), the decision is staggering.