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November 26, 2014 12:05 pm

Appeasing Gulf Arab Sponsors, Soccer Giants Real Madrid Remove Cross From Club Logo

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Now you see it, now you don't: Real Madrid removes the Christian cross from its logo in deference to its Gulf Arab backers. Image: Twitter

The spillover of religious intolerance from the Middle East into Europe was dramatically revealed today, as Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid unveiled an adjusted logo for inclusion on a brand new credit card issued by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The logo is exactly the same as the one the club has been using since 1931, minus one important detail – in order not to disturb Muslim sensibilities, the Christian cross which normally sits at the top has been removed.

The logo change, readily acceded to by the management of Real Madrid – the world’s wealthiest sports team, valued at nearly $3.5 billion – forms part of a three year “strategic alliance with one of the most prestigious institutions in the world,” as club President Florentino Pérez described the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The importance the club attaches to the deal was demonstrated at a signing ceremony in September attended by some of the club’s top players, including Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Dani Carvajal.

At the September ceremony, Perez gushed, “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.” Commenting on today’s appearance of the club logo without the cross, the leading Spanish soccer website Marca commented, “from the looks of things, the club is willing to compromise on aspects of its identity in pursuit of these new fans.”

Real Madrid’s decision to cave into Muslim religious intolerance comes at a time of growing concern for Christians in the Middle East, where Islamic State terrorists have massacred and ethnically cleansed ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria. While Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates (UAE,) is comparatively more tolerant, a recent State Department report highlighted several violations of international standards on religious freedom.

“The government prohibits proselytizing and the distribution of non-Islamic religious literature under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation,” the report observed. “The law prohibits churches from erecting bell towers or displaying crosses on the outside of their premises; however, the government does not always enforce this law, and some churches display crosses on their buildings.”

Real Madrid’s decision to drop the cross from its logo will likely not be the last change the club makes to appease its Gulf Arab backers. Under the terms of the September deal, the club now has the funds to expand its famed Bernabéu stadium, named after club legend Santiago Bernabéu, thanks to an agreement with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC,) which is exclusively owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family.

In the process, however, the club is likely be compelled to change the name of the stadium to include a reference to Abu Dhabi, much to the chagrin of its Spanish fans. Under similar deals concluded with leading soccer clubs in England, stadiums have been named for Arab companies, among them the Emirates and Etihad airlines.

It is not yet clear whether the UAE will require Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s top striker, to change his Christian name – which is, appropriately, “Cristiano.”

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  • Traian

    I am ashamed of real madrid. .I was loving this team with all my heart I am sorry for that. .perez sell us for money. ..shame the same for the players and the fans because they don’t take attitude

  • monir

    Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.
    But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

    Mateus 10:32-33

  • Gabriel Espinosa

    Florentino Pérez, you are a cheap whore. Prostituting the team and its glorious history for what? Eventually, they will come for your head as they must according to their faith.

  • Sean

    There is no gulf arab or arabian gulf. It is called PERSIAN GULF. PERSIAN GULF forever!

    • Sam

      Persian or Arab you are both Islamic Barbarian.

  • Connor

    Foolish very foolish aware UAE because Ronaldo is not going to change his name nor are madrid gonna lift the crops it is impossible for them to do that it will not happen UAE you sick arrogants

    • John Harrison

      Haha Ronaldo isn’t going to change his name, OBVIOUSLY HE WON’T! The UAE is a great place maybe you should realize they have religious freedom but it’s a Muslim majority and Abu Dhabi or anyone didn’t make Real change their logo they CHOSE TO! So learn your facts before you comment stupid things

      • Sam

        Mr. Harrison,
        1- Do you respect a person who offer to swap your faith with a job or money? I don’t.
        Because of that I do not respect UAE government >>>>
        2- Do you respect a person who swap his faith “Whatever” with money or a job opportunity? I don’t
        Because of that I’ll not more respect Real Madrid .
        Mr. Perez is looking for “conquering the hearts of the followers in UAE” as he claimed. Do you think the same?
        I don’t, He is looking for only “MONEY”

  • roberto

    eso se llama cobardia y falta de moral y etica Ahi hay solo interes comercial y nada de orgullo por su emblema por el orgullo de su camiceta son unos vendidos HP eso lo que son que verguenza!

  • virina

    They sold Christ as Judah and their country’s history also

  • robby

    am really surprised while the whole world is claiming for Secularism and the best place for it, it’s in football which is the worldwide sports nations, to hear from you guys that to remove a small sign of whatever religion and set the logo which now belong the whole world fans and not spanish nor european, religon-less is an offense against your believe! Really?? wake up guys we are in 21 century not in cavern with neanderthals!!

    • skiz

      They had it removed for religous reasons. Was ‘logic’ abolished in the 21st century?



    • Fouad

      For every person who says that in football there is no religion I agree… But the cross is removed for religious reason, to appease the muslims in ME..
      i have a question, in Iraq there is a lot of christians, why the governement remove the word ”allah akbar” from their national flag ?
      real madrid, byebye

  • Damiano

    I will not support the club anymore. Europe is not a Muslim Republic, it is a Christian continent.

    • chipiripi

      Haaaaaaaa haaaaaaaa This is such a ridiculous article. What are they going to do with “Cristiano” (Christian) Ronaldo? change his name to “Agnostic” Ronaldo?

    • Jan Bontje

      Europe is neither muslim nor christian: it’s a mix of various religions and “non-religions” (humanism and free thought for example).

      • Gabriel Espinosa

        You know nothing but ignorance. Europe is CHRISTIAN and were it not for CHRISTIANITY there would be no Europe.

    • dror, Israel

      “Europe is not a Muslim Republic” – yet!! 🙂

    • Umm Abdullah

      Sorry to break this to you, but unless you’re extremely wealthy, the support of an Abu Dhabi bank is more important to them than your support. It’s purely business.

      And I wonder whether a Jewish organization who made such a deal would want them keeping a cross on their logo.

      • samer

        Just to be asked from an UAE BANK shows dirty minds and bad suggestion.
        Wake up Islam people wake up and don’t be so hateful and so cruel, wish u all (christians jews and muslims) Happy new year and merry christmas dont forget its 2015 since jesus christ was born respect that wither u like it or not … in the name of the father the son and the holy spirit Amen.
        Samer from nazareth the holy land

  • Abe Preisinger

    very sad indeed. I am sure the Real is equivalent to royal in English, and the crown represents the Habsburg dynasty and the King of Spain which represented the Holy Roman Empire.
    They prostitute their heritage, it was in Spain that Charles Martel drove back the Muslims.
    Islam is a false religion and a religion of war as we can see by the constant killings and plunder.
    Jesus is the true KIng and we should honour him. I hope that Real will lose all the important matches in the next decade. I guess the Spanish didn’t do very well in this year’s world cup.

  • hammar

    they can remove the Cross but Christ is still Lord and Savior. While UAE,islam and the Watch tower are still false gospels.

  • BH in Iowa

    The Gates of Vienna are wide open.

  • John Brennan

    I would never take down a cross ,for anyone especially someone from another religion did you forget about the Ottoman Empire? Shame on you guys,

  • John Brennan

    it’s a shame you’re so successful, to take down the cross for anyone is very ungodly, did you forget about the Ottoman Empire???

  • Eddie

    I am done with Real Madrid for changing their logo to appease Islam.
    How weak and unprincipled! This move will hurt their team in
    the long run. It’s all about money and political correctness.

    • Umm Abdullah

      Of course it’s about money… that’s what the whole football world is about.

  • Antony

    If this is not the worst kind of “prostitution” and an example if greed before principles, than I don’t know what it is! The Real Madrid is no longer part of the Western civilisation!

  • Linda Lowe

    The love of money is the root of all evil. Muslims vs. Christians. Old story that is starting anew. Christ is King!!!

  • Ron Wahlers

    well they offend me for giving into Muslim intolerance.

  • No big deal. We’re still Madrid. I’m for instance Jehova’s Witness from Zambia. As JWs, we don’t believe in the Cross. But I’ve been supporting the club since time immemorial. I didn’t even notice cross existed on the logo. Hala Madrid!

    • tom

      No you are REAL Madrid…big difference bucko

    • Bender

      But the next step will be placing the crescent and a star over the coat of arms.
      This is not about removing the cross (which is a part of the Spanish crown) – this is more about appeasing to muslims.

    • Joe

      Why do we give up our traditions. Soon we will struggle
      Like the crusades

    • I feel sorry for you JWs, for without the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross your sin remains. Salvation is found in no other but in the blood of Christ and He went to the cross to die for our sins that includes all but those who reject the cross reject Jesus and have no salvation but the wrath of God remains on them who reject HIS Son Jesus Christ remember this all will bow at the name of Jesus some to salvation and some to condemnation but all will confess that He Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings.