Friday November 28th, 2014

Real Madrid removed the cross from atop its badge after signing a sponsorship deal with with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

At a press conference earlier this week to announce the deal, the club unveiled a credit card sponsored by the bank that also serves as a Real Madrid club membership card. On the card was a revised image of the club's "Los Blancos" badge missing the cross that previously adorned the top of the badge's royal crown.

According to Spanish sports newspaper Marca, the edit was made to avoid offending Muslim fans in the region.

The badge will remain unaltered outside the U.A.E., where the National Bank of Abu Dhabi is one of the leading banks.

FIFA official: Take 2022 World Cup from Qatar, hold future Cup in region

Real Madrid club president Florentino Pérez said the sponsorship deal was a "strategic alliance with one of the most prestigious institutions in the world."

As Florentino put it a couple of months ago, "I know that the local people experience every match in a special way and that our links with the UAE are constantly growing stronger. This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates"

World's best by position in 2014

At the unveiling ceremony, Real Madrid had four of its most popular players present, each hailing from a major European market: Gareth Bale (the United Kingdom), Karim Benzema (France), Dani Carvajal (Spain) and Toni Kroos (Germany).

Mike Fiammetta

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.