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.
|BREAKING NEWS: Argentina rule Romero out of World Cup|
|Emery´s website appears to confirm Arsenal appointment|
|´Inspiring´ Guardiola has made Fleetwood a better golfer|
|Two trophies in a week! Torres leaves Atletico Madrid in style|
|I died a thousand deaths - Yates set for Giro defensive after time trial|
|Hamsik hints at Napoli exit amid China rumours|
|Rowett swaps Derby for Stoke|
|Thiem comfortable in victory as rain delays Wawrinka|
|Schmelzer gives up Borussia Dortmund captaincy|
|Top seed Stephens struggling at Nuremberg Cup|
|This is the wrong information - Vieira rejects Nice speculation|
|France rest Guirado, recall Thomas for New Zealand tour|
|Warriors´ Iguodala upgraded to questionable for game four|
|Simmons, Mitchell unanimous picks for NBA All-Rookie first team|
|AC Milan referred over alleged FFP breaches|
|F1 Raceweek: Ferrari and Red Bull target Monaco upturn|
|Horoya 2 Mamelodi Sundowns 2: Camara header denies visitors´ comeback|
|Du Plessis rescue mission takes Super Kings to IPL final|
|Seedorf to leave relegated Deportivo|
|Wenger turned down Real Madrid ´two or three times´|
|Kane dreams of lifting World Cup trophy as England captain|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Liverpool & Roma|
|Yates stays on course for Giro title, Dennis wins time trial|
|Brighton sign Nigeria international Balogun|
|Ronaldo again pips LeBron and Messi as sport´s most famous star|
|Marcelo fears backlash if Madrid lose Champions League final|
|Messi joins Argentina´s World Cup training camp|
|FIFA finds no doping cases in Russia´s World Cup squad|
|Liverpool´s strikeforce reminds Ronaldo of Real Madrid|
|Hysaj staying at Napoli ´regardless of Sarri´s future´|
|Amir fully fit for Lord´s Test|
|A fast start to life - The Golden Knights and the expansion teams who excelled early|
|Molina gets two-year anti-doping ban for positive test after Joshua bout|
|Ramos: We´re a vintage Real Madrid team|
|Klopp key to controlling Liverpool emotions, says Alonso|
|Bjorn names Westwood, Harrington, Donald and McDowell as Europe vice-captains|
|Scarlets players left wounded by ´shocking´ Scotstoun pitch|
|Arsenal fined £20,000 for Leicester penalty protest|
|Storm offer Bellamy ´significant´ deal amid reported Broncos interest|
|Rashford writes moving tribute on anniversary of Manchester Arena attack|
|Heaton backs Kane´s captaincy credentials|
|Salah deserves Ballon d´Or if Liverpool win Champions League – Owen|
|Wasps flanker Willis out for up to a year|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Is the Champions League enough to save Zidane?|
|I was left out on reputation - Nainggolan angered by World Cup snub|
|Pellegrini targets Europe with West Ham|
|Lopetegui extends Spain contract|
|Edinburgh-bound Barclay´s Scarlets career over following Achilles surgery|
|Saints swoop for NRL star Naiqama|
|Zidane: Be careful when you criticise Ronaldo|
|It doesn´t get better - Stevens relishing best-of-three shootout for Celtics|
|Favre named new Dortmund boss|
|LeBron and Lue hail evergreen Kyle Korver|
|Kane named England captain for World Cup|
|Wright slams Arsenal over Emery: It´s like a sushi shop!|
|Pellegrini named new West Ham manager|
|Late drama and sustained Ronaldo magic - Real Madrid´s road to the Champions League final|
|Yankees´ home runs fuel win over Rangers|
|LeBron scores 44 points as Cavs level series against Celtics|
|Kaufusi re-signs with Melbourne Storm|
|LeBron James sets record for postseason field goals|
|Monchi: Alisson will only leave Roma if I come out of retirement!|
|No offers from Chelsea or Zenit, says Sarri´s agent|
|No Champions League pressure as PSG´s Tuchel calls for patience|
|Nationals´ Juan Soto hits homer in second career at-bat|
|Buffon to decide future in a week amid PSG speculation|
|Eli Apple embarrassed by 2017 antics, ready to move forward|
|Bills release Richie Incognito from reserve/retired list|
|Gentry and Pelicans want Cousins back in New Orleans|
|MLB extends Blue Jays closer Osuna´s administrative leave|