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New Barcelona kit shows the club returning to its roots after ditching Qatar Airways

Nike has unveiled the new Barcelona kit which sees the club return to its roots after dropping its shirt sponsor Qatar Airways.

The new kit unveiling follows on from Nike’s 10 year contract extension with Barcelona which is reportedly the most expensive kit deal in history at £107m per-season.

It sees the club return to its classic broad vertical stripes with thinner tonal stripes intended to homage the kit worn by the team in the 1991/92 season, when Barcelona won its first ever European Cup.

Interestingly the Catalan club’s new kit will no longer feature the Qatar Airways or the Qatar Foundation branding across the front and will instead see the La Liga champions return to their pre-2006 days when they had no shirt sponsor at all.

Barcelona’s current deal with Qatar Airways is due to expired next month and reports that the club have had difficulties in finalising a kit sponsor for next season suggested that it would not be renewing the partnership.

The relationship between the two appeared to have deteriorated after the former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, openly criticised the Gulf state’s internal politics at last summer’s presidential election at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona have reportedly been in talks with numerous brands, including PepsiCo, over a potential shirt sponsorship deal.

During a visit to Qatar in March for a MotorGP race, the club’s marketing and communication vice president, Catalunya Radio, said he was confident a deal with a sponsor would be completed for next season.

Football shirt sponsorships have become an increasingly lucrative market and Barcelona’s decision to run without a sponsor for next season will complicate contract extensions with star players such as Neymar and Lionel Messi, especially given the club statutes strict debt-to-income ratio management.

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