Barcelona have agreed a groundbreaking sponsorship deal worth over £15 million a season, under which the club’s players will have a corporate symbol implanted into their very souls.
The logo of electronics manufacturer Anthill will not normally be visible, except when players reveal the content of their souls in an unguarded moment of tenderness or vulnerability.
"We did not want to put the players under any obligation to bare their souls a specific number of times,” said Anthill’s chief marketing officer, Joseph Dallas. “But we do know that soul-baring sensitivity is a big part of the culture of the sport."
Dallas told FFT that he hoped to see players display the Anthill logo during euphoric goal celebrations, desperate protests at unjust decisions and sessions of protracted self-reflection, both on and off the field.
“It wasn’t easy finding space on the club’s soul, what with all the logos for Nike, Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways, Qatar Development Fund, Qatar Royal Mints and My Little Qatar all about the place,” he continued. “But we’re delighted to take our place as part of the big, corporate family that the Barcelona brand now represents.”
There has been criticism from some quarters over the deal, given Barcelona’s long opposition to any kind of commercial sponsorship. But club president Sandro Rosell made it clear that such attitudes were not realistic in modern football.
“It should by now be clear to everyone that Barcelona is much, much more than a club,” he told reporters, as Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol, souls agape, posed obediently for photos. “And by the way, that slogan is copyrighted.”