Barcelona players slowed by sweaty Nike shirts

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, reacts after scoring against Atletico Madrid during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Few opponents have been able to slow Barcelona. But Nike may have inadvertently managed to do just that — with shirts that absorb too much sweat.

The Spanish soccer champions say they have recently met with Nike officials to complain about the new shirts. The team contends the shirts absorb so much moisture they take on added weight over the course of a game.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais first reported claims from Barcelona players that the shirts more than doubled in weight by halftime.

Nike said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday that it is "working to find a solution to the problem with the shirts along with the club."

The sportswear maker said it does not know the exact problem with the shirt, but it should be resolved in two to three weeks.

The new shirts are made from a fabric called Dri-FIT, which is composed of recycled plastic and used exclusively by first-team squads of Nike's sponsored clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Inter Milan. The jerseys are not for sale to the public.

Nike said Barcelona is the only one of its sponsored clubs to complain so far, although tennis star Rafael Nadal experienced a similar problem with his own Nike Dri-FIT gear at the Australian Open in January.

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