In a diplomatic move, Spanish club Real Madrid have removed a cross from the crown on their logo on all promotional materials for the $1bn resort island they are building in the United Arab Emirates.
Spanish newspaper Marca said the change was made to “avoid any form of confusion or misinterpretation in a region where the majority of the population is Muslim”.
The cross, part of King Alfonso XIII’s crown, was added to the crest in 1920 when he granted the club his royal patronage and their name changed from Madrid Club de Futbol to Real Madrid.
All the royal symbols were then removed from the club’s crest and name in 1931 when the monarchy was dissolved, although they were restored at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1941.
The foundation stone for the Real Madrid themed park was laid last month on the island, which will open in Ras al-Khaimah in 2015.
But what is the reaction to the move here in the Arab world? From a cynical money-making ploy to a move to keep Barcelona from winning over the Middle East, here are some of the comments made on social media sites.
In a comment on the Yahoo! Maktoob Sports page on Facebook, Alaa Mohsen described this as a "conciliatory" act.
Mohamed Bahi said on the same Facebook page: "Very cool, this is what all clubs in the world should do."
In the comments section of the article on Yahoo! Maktoob Sports, Badredine disagreed. He said: "They are money-worshippers. They have sold their religion for money. There is no point in saying that they removed the cross out of respect for Muslims. Why then do they prevent their Muslim players from fasting in Ramadan? They would not have done it [removed the cross] had it not been for their [theme park] project."
In the same vein another user said: "If they get more money they would probably add a crescent instead of the Cross.”
Moh on Facebook linked the move to the growing competition between Real Madrid and Barcelona, saying: "Who says they removed the cross out of respect for Muslims? They only care about their interests, and the money is certainly good.
"They want to increase their popularity here in the Middle East [against their rivals]. Barcelona fans are growing. Add to this that there is a war against Islam in all parts of Europe - the best evidence of which is denying Turkey access to the European Union."
The move by Real Madrid is widely seen as a gambit to strengthen their fan base in the Middle East and Arab countries; last summer, Barcelona won a huge sponsorship contract from Qatar Foundation.
But SaMeH was not bothered by the cross in Real Madrid's logo in the first place. He wrote on Yahoo! Maktoob's Sports comments section: "Why would the presence of a cross upset believers of Islam or any other faith? The cross is a symbol of Chrisitanity; a religion that is always said to be respected by Islam. I do not agree to this [being seen as hypocritical]."
Probably the most amusing comment came from Sobhy Nabel, who wrote on Facebook: "I believe Real Madrid emblem had no Cross at all!"