Real Madrid Ditches Cross From Logo for Deal With Abu Dhabi Bank

Logo, reportedly altered to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities, appears on credit card issued by National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Spanish soccer club Real Madrid has removed a cross from its logo as part of a 'strategic alliance' with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, a leading bank in the United Arab Emirates.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez this week unveiled the altered logo, which appears on a credit card issued by the bank that doubles as a membership card for the team, Spanish sports website Marca reported.

The team agreed to the change to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities, according to reports.

Perez labeled the deal, signed in September, with National Bank of Abu Dhabi a "strategic alliance with one of the most prestigious institutions in the world."

"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 was quoted as saying several months ago. "This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.”

Marca noted, however, that "from the looks of things, the club is willing to compromise on aspects of its identity in pursuit of these new fans."

The club's original logo will still be used in Europe, according to the Telegraph.

Last year, the club reached a new shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates airline for five seasons.

"It is a new era for two global brands that will help us in our time.

"It is one of the most important agreements in the history of the club," he said.

No official figures were released for the sponsorship deal which is reported by media to be worth up to 30 million euros ($38.9 million) a year.

Madrid's famous white strip has since carried the slogan "Fly Emirates."

Reuters