Rakuten Inc. will be splashing its name across "the most important shirt in the world," according to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, after the e-commerce giant celebrated the start of its four-year, $235 million sponsorship with the iconic Spanish soccer club on Thursday.

"I think they have the same philosophy as us," Pique told The Japan Times in an exclusive interview. "They like to attack. Basically I think that we are family now and with our partnership we can create something long term."

Rakuten completed one of the biggest sponsorship deals in sports history in November when it reached an agreement to emblazon its logo across the shirts of Barcelona, which has won the Champions League five times and Spain's La Liga 24 times.