Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed in the presentation of Rakuten as the club’s new global sponsor that one of the club’s first team players was key in the negotiation phase of the deal.
Bartomeu, during his speech at the Auditori 1899, explained that a dinner organised by Gerard Pique in San Francisco initiated the contact. Pique has his own business, Kerad Games, which has had a relationship with Rakuten.
“It all began in 2015 with a dinner organised in San Francisco by Gerard Pique, with Mr. Mikitani and us,” the Barça president revealed.
“Pique and his partner Shakira are very close friends with [Rakuten CEO] Mr. M Mikitani. It was in the summer of 2015, during the club’s USA tour, when Gerard organised a dinner in San Francisco and Manel Arroyo and myself were at the dinner, where we met Mr. Mikitani, who is an incredible person.
“We spoke about the future and at that moment Pique helped us a lot to meet Mr. Mikitani, so we are very grateful to him.”
Remember that Gerard Pique also posted a tweet once inside the Rakuten offices in Tokyo.