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.
|Ronaldo jets off for a break as Madrid head to Leganes|
|Bastareaud back in one of five France changes|
|Mistake to let Kroos leave Bayern for Madrid - Sammer|
|Short´s fifty and Agar´s spin seal deserved Australian tri-series win|
|Spalletti tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|I can´t wait for retirement - Federer|
|Mendy on course for World Cup, says Deschamps|
|Man Utd on dismal knockout run, Roma have Shakhtar curse - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Azpilicueta hoping for greater fortune at Camp Nou|
|Out of nothing he can score goals – Heynckes hails Muller|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Giovinco inspires Toronto, Tigres held|
|Steelers LB Shazier says he´s ´best linebacker ever´|
|Ranieri: I´ll quit Nantes if offered Italy job|
|Thiem keeps title defence on track, Monfils saves match point in Rio|
|Barcelona are great even without Neymar – Willian|
|Del Potro, Raonic progress at Delray Beach|
|Dolphins place franchise tag on Landry|
|Colts QB Luck ´extremely optimistic´ about shoulder rehab|
|Conte wants to see out Chelsea contract but has bags packed|
|A´s respond to Gruden´s belittling of Oakland|
|Yankees acquire Drury in three-team deal with Diamondbacks, Rays|
|Messi goal will give Barcelona more space at Camp Nou – Suarez|
|Serena Williams: I almost died|
|Conte defends ´incredible´ Christensen after Barcelona error|
|Bayern taking nothing for granted after 5-0 demolition – Heynckes|
|Valverde: Barcelona away goal not definitive for progression|
|Muller & Robben bemoan poor first half despite Bayern rout|
|Ivashka sets up Wawrinka Marseille meeting|
|Chelsea close to a perfect game against Barcelona - Conte|
|Defending for 90 minutes at Barcelona a ´suicide mission´ - Fabregas|
|Championship Review: Villa miss chance to move into promotion places|
|Messi ends his Chelsea hoodoo|
|Texans release all-time leading tackler Brian Cushing|
|Chelsea 1 Barcelona 1: Messi breaks Blues hoodoo to leave tie in the balance|
|Bayern Munich 5 Besiktas 0: Two-goal Muller inspires emphatic win after Vida red|
|Woods and Stricker appointed USA Ryder Cup vice-captains|
|Wales must attack Sexton and Murray - Gatland|
|De Vrij confirms intention to leave Lazio on free transfer|
|Sanchez move down to Champions League frustration at Arsenal - Mourinho|
|Mourinho suggests Pogba is fit to face Sevilla|
|Clinical Kerber strolls past Strycova in Dubai|
|AFC Champions League Review: Hulk & Oscar lead Shanghai, Jeonbuk Motors hit six|
|Cech expects Ospina to start for Arsenal in EFL Cup final|
|Gueye signs new Everton deal until 2022|
|FA charges Man City and Wigan for failing to control players|
|Aguero faces no action over Wigan fan incident|
|Martin released by Buccaneers|
|Las Palmas get green light to sign Viera replacement amid Nasri talk|
|De Kock, De Villiers & Du Plessis looking to Australia Tests|
|FA issues West Ham with anti-doping charge|
|Florenzi a doubt to face Shakhtar, confirms Roma´s Di Francesco|
|Maybe we ´lock him up or tie him up´ – Montella ponders how to stop Sanchez|
|French rugby crisis could last a long time - Magne|
|Pogba and Ibrahimovic train with Man Utd ahead of Sevilla tie|
|Zidane hints at resting Ronaldo for Real Madrid´s trip to Leganes|
|Biggar, Halfpenny and Williams return to Wales´ starting XV|
|Modric adds to Real Madrid injury worries|
|Braehmer pulls out of Super Series semi-final|
|Wolfsburg turn to Labbadia in fight for Bundesliga survival|
|Hales follows Rashid in signing white-ball deal|
|Wigan to investigate pitch invasion after win over Manchester City|
|Drogba ´couldn´t be more proud´ as son signs for Guingamp|
|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|