When Paris Saint-Germain made their world-record €222million move for Neymar, Barcelona were caught off guard as the Ligue 1 giants paid the forward's release clause and left the Catalans powerless.
Barca could only sit and watch as the Brazilian made his exit, stepping from the shadow of Lionel Messi in the hope of one day usurping his former team-mate and Cristiano Ronaldo in the battle for the Ballon d'Or.
But Barca appear to have learned from their mistakes with respect to release clauses and the opportunity they present clubs willing to spend big.
Thursday's confirmation of Gerard Pique's contract renewal also brought news that the Spain defender's clause has been boosted to a whopping €500m, while Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho - signed since Neymar's departure - also have extraordinarily large sums attached to their deals.
Every player in Spanish football has to have such a clause in their contract and, while they do not always come into play in a transfer, they can give clubs an automatic position of strength - or weakness.
Here, we examine the biggest release clauses in football and, although transfer fees continue to swell, it will probably be a while before we see any of these figures matched...
€1billion - Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema
It will not come as a huge surprise to learn that no player has a bigger release clause in their contract than the reported €1bn in Ronaldo's. After all, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is reportedly obsessed with the idea of being paid more than his rival Messi, so also wanting a larger clause than him is hardly a shock.
His Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema is also understood to have a €1bn release clause, though the club will not have to worry about another team triggering that, given he has just 13 league goals since the start of last season.
In fact, neither of the players have been particularly effective this season, with the pair scoring six times between them in LaLiga. For that sort of figure, you could buy the entirety of almost any football club on Earth.
€700million - Lionel Messi, Isco and Marco Asensio
When Messi entered the final year of his Barca contract in July last year, the club remained publicly very calm about the prospect of him leaving on a Bosman deal at the end of the 2017-18 season.
In case you missed the story, Leo #Messi renewed his contract with FC Barcelona earlier today ... and here are the pictures to prove it!— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) 26 November 2017
Great news for Barca fans all over the world! pic.twitter.com/UofY5seBIC
Perhaps it was never really in doubt, as they did eventually tie him down in November, but there have since been murmurings of Real Madrid keeping tabs on the situation beforehand.
But Barca managed to insert a €700m release clause into Messi's deal. It might not be on the same level as Ronaldo's, but it should be enough to deter bidders, while the same can be said of Madrid's two Spanish jewels in Isco and Marco Asensio, who have identical figures in their contracts.
€500million - Gareth Bale, Gerard Pique, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos
Pique's new deal places him among this elite group of players. The centre-back signed on for another four-and-a-half years and it will cost potential suitors half a billion Euros to prise him away from Camp Nou.
But four Real Madrid players already have clauses for the same amount in their contracts, highlighting that Los Blancos have been rather more prepared than Barca for the situation that arose with Neymar's departure.
Gareth Bale - once the world's most expensive player - is among them, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos - a July acquisition from Real Betis - also boasting hefty €500m buyout clauses.
€400million - Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho
Dembele and Coutinho are living proof of Barca's determination not to get caught off guard like they did with Neymar ever again.
Signed for €105m and €160m, respectively, the pair are Barca's two most expensive purchases ever, and they are not about to let them escape without a mind-boggling fee coming in.
Granted, €400m is the smallest in this list, but Barca can feel safe in the knowledge that - at least for the time being - it is a figure any club would struggle to meet.
20 de febrero 2018
|Stones making no excuses for shock Wigan defeat|
|Bellugi scathing of Inter form and transfer policy|
|Ringrose could make Six Nations impact after comeback|
|Rakitic: I´ve not seen Messi in the gym this often|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Slovenian ice hockey star Jeglic sent home after positive doping test|
|Sevilla v Manchester United: Montella and Mourinho unified in pursuit of identity|
|Besiktas face Bayern test, Messi seeks to end drought - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Jose Morais: The Mourinho acolyte bringing Barcelona to Barnsley|
|I´ve been bored – Ricciardo itching for start of F1 season|
|Rakitic: More to Chelsea than just Hazard|
|Hosmer agrees to eight-year deal with Padres|
|Cilic untroubled as Fognini battles in Rio|
|Sock, Chung through at Delray Beach|
|Klopp tactics behind my form – Salah|
|Young: Man United can win Champions League|
|Harper refuses to talk free agency, says he´s focused on this season|
|Messi is best but ´not invincible´, says Pedro|
|It´s a red card – Guardiola accepts Delph sending off amid City´s Wigan woe|
|Goffin hopeful of ´fast recovery´ after nasty eye injury|
19 de febrero 2018
|Aguero lashes out at fan as tempers flare after Wigan stun Man City|
|Grigg revels in dousing Manchester City´s fire|
|Dzumhur saves four match points to down Kukushkin|
|Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester City 0: Grigg ends Guardiola´s quadruple dream|
|Edinburgh to finish season at Murrayfield|
|Messi the best but don´t forget Suarez, says Chelsea boss Conte|
|I need a great game – Hazard aiming for Messi heights|
|AFC Champions League Review: El-Arabi´s brace seals Al Wahda´s fate|
|Dubai disappointment for Radwanska|
|Patriots knew Butler would be benched, says McCourty|
|Barcelona boss Valverde tells Chelsea: History counts|
|Schmidt departs as Wolfsburg face relegation fight|
|Madrid, Barca & PSG are Champions League favourites, says Heynckes|
|I was at rock bottom – Brook opens up on depression battle|
|Rashid in form as Afghanistan rout sorry Zimbabwe|
|Toulon president charged over Bastareaud comments|
|Biggar, Halfpenny and Faletau all fit as Wales given clean bill of health|
|Hughes availability ´absolutely huge´ for England, says Alphonsi|
|Former football coach Bennell sentenced to 31 years|
|Why didn´t Jimmy Butler play in NBA All-Star Game?|
|Returning Ringrose added to Ireland Six Nations squad|
|Hummels wary of ´top European team´ as Bayern prepare for Besiktas|
|In-form Kvitova withdraws from Dubai|
|WATCH: ´Crazy´ Evra drives to West Ham training in London cab|
|Barca clash a chance for Chelsea ´to do things right´, proclaims Rudiger|
|Lucas claims Tottenham can win Champions League|
|Federer the ´complete player´ with number-one return - Schuettler|
|LeBron relishes one more link-up with Irving|
|Barcelona tie will not decide Conte´s Chelsea future, says Deco|
|Cordner signs bumper deal with Roosters|
|Lewandowski won´t be distracted by Real Madrid rumours|
|Bennett signs on until 2019 with England|
|Man Utd must not underestimate Sevilla - Navas|
|Coleman demolishes 20-year-old 60m world record|
|Red Bull reveal ´special edition´ livery on 2018 car|
|Iniesta will not be made welcome at Stamford Bridge, warns Azpilicueta|
|Ballack sees ´a big difference´ between Bundesliga and Premier League|
|Karmichael Hunt faces no conviction, but will remain sidelined|
|Betis boss would have preferred to face Madrid´s BBC|
|Chelsea v Barcelona: Messi´s blues against the Blues|
|James leaving Madrid was the best thing, says father|
|He´s looking good – Zidane thrilled with Ronaldo|
|It needs to take 30 seconds – Matic wants quicker VAR|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|McIlroy sees progress despite failing to contend at Riviera|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|Mickelson ready for Masters after third straight top-six finish|
|Gattuso: My job is to be the players´ nightmare until season´s end|
|I wasn´t good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection|
|Dillon reigns supreme with overtime win at Daytona 500|
|Bubba Watson ends drought with third Genesis Open title|