FC Barcelona's President Josep Maria Bartomeu (L) and Rakuten's President and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani shake hands after signing a contract as main sponsor in Barcelona, Spain Nov. 16, 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea
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Spanish giants FC Barcelona sealed a massive shirt sponsorship deal Wednesday with Japanese online retailer Rakuten worth at least 55 million euros ($59 million) a year.One of world football's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals sees Japan's leading e-commerce company replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, confirming Asia's appetite for major investment in European football.Qatar Airways were reported to have paid 35 million euros for the final year of their deal taking them up to the end of the 2016-17 season.Barcelona's new sponsorship deal however falls short of the seven-year deal which Manchester United signed with Chevrolet which will earn the English club $560 million – about $80 million (70 million euros) per year.Qatar Airways signed its first sponsorship deal with the club in 2013 .
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