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.
|Johnston: Liverpool can´t lose Suarez, Coutinho and Salah!|
|Messi: I like Griezmann, he´s one of the best|
|Ohtani says he´s not good enough for Home Run Derby yet|
|Mendy: France are eyeing World Cup glory|
|Scott accepts two-week ban for Walker punch|
|Braves rally for six runs in the ninth to defeat Marlins|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls upstage Atlanta thanks to Wright-Phillips brace|
|Warriors breeze past Rockets in game three|
|We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market|
|Wise cruises to maiden PGA Tour victory at Byron Nelson|
|Matic: United can fight for Premier League and Champions League with experience|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|I did a ´s*** job´ defending LeBron James – Morris|
|Dembele suffers sprained right ankle|
|We know Fellaini´s not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move|
|Cavs´ Lue not satisfied with just one win|
|They even whistled at Torres – Simeone backs Griezmann|
|I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell|
|Lingard: Wembley loss my worst feeling in football|
|Cahill: Conte uncertainty affecting Chelsea|
|Sarri has run out of time – Napoli chief De Laurentiis|
|Barca boss Valverde salutes departing Iniesta|
|I feel like I´ve been run over by a truck or had 15 pints - Crutchlow|
|Four sent off as Ajaccio win chaotic Le Havre play-off on penalties|
|Sweden win shoot-out to retain world title|
|De Vrij penalty was destiny for Inter - Icardi|
|PSG? Maybe one day - Pogba coy over long-term future at Manchester United|
|Messi wins fifth European Golden Shoe|
|Gattuso calls for more malice at Milan|
|Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 0: Coutinho stunner lights up Iniesta´s farewell|
|Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti´s men seal Champions League qualification with stunning comeback|
|Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short|
|Nadal sees clearly after Rome rain is gone|
|Double whammy for Zverevs as Mischa bows out in Geneva|
|Atletico Madrid pay fitting tribute to tearful Torres|
|Hull FC claim derby spoils, Dragons off the bottom|
|Buzarnescu battles through as McHale impresses in Nuremberg|
|Neymar an artist who will not need special treatment - new PSG coach Tuchel|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Eibar 2: Torres bows out with a double|
|Napoli 2 Crotone 1: Milik and Callejon condemn visitors to the drop|
|Iniesta starts on Barcelona goodbye but Messi rested|
|Nadal rallies after rain break to dethrone Zverev in Rome|
|AC Milan 5 Fiorentina 1: Cutrone brace secures Europa League group stage spot|
|I think I made a fantastic decision - Garoppolo key to Sherman joining 49ers|
|FIFPro appeals to FIFA over Guerrero World Cup ban|
|Neymar made mistake joining PSG - Rivaldo|
|Simple for Simon as outstanding Yates extends Giro advantage|
|Ulster qualify for Champions Cup as Biggar makes history|
|Neymar tired of rumours and staying at PSG, president Al-Khelaifi claims|
|Beaten Halep calms injury concerns ahead of French Open|
|Van der Vaart´s Midtjylland nightmare set to end|
|It has been a crazy ride - Klopp proud of Liverpool ahead of Champions League showdown|
|Raonic pulls out of French Open|
|Liverpool youngster Alexander-Arnold not overwhelmed by England call-up|
|Torres captains Atletico Madrid on farewell|
|Otaegui claims second European Tour win at Belgian Knockout|
|Green: Warriors play best when we feel threatened|
|Daredevils dump out defending IPL champions Mumbai|
|Fan shows off Monk face tattoo on bottom|
|Bayern Munich chief Hoeness rules out spending spree|
|Fury to take on Albanian Seferi in Manchester next month|
|Mourinho mind games won´t distract from Manchester United´s paused progress|
|My motivation is intact - Ranieri open to offers following Nantes exit|
|Shields would probably have made All Blacks squad - Hansen|
|Willian fuels rift talk by hiding Conte with emojis in cup photo|
|Marquez extends lead at Le Mans as Dovizioso crashes again|
|Top-six mentality a boost to England´s World Cup hopes – Southgate|
|Dominant Svitolina retains in Rome as Halep sustains injury scare|
|I´d play for free! - Fifita desperate for State of Origin call-up|
|Plea satisfied with Nice exit as big changes beckon|