Rakuten is Barca's new main sponsor

Japanese online retailer Rakuten will be Barcelona's main sponsor for the next four years in a deal worth at least 55 million euros ($83.6m) a year, the Spanish giants said yesterday.

Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, who was reported to have paid 35m euros for the final year of its deal up to the end of the 2016-17 season.

"I have the pleasure and honour to announce that the board of directors has approved that Rakuten will be the new main and global sponsor of the club for the next four years," Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told a news conference at the Nou Camp yesterday.

The announcement of the new sponsorship deal comes as the club are set to begin work in 2018 on an extensive renovation of their Nou Camp home that will see the capacity of Europe's biggest stadium extended to 105,000 and an open facade to allow views across the city.

- AFP.