Although Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy deemed this weekend’s Independence vote in Catalonia as invalid, the preliminary result showed that over 90% of civilians would like to live in an independent state.
If the Government were to give in and allow the region to conduct a legitimate vote, and if the result remains the same, could we see some of the league’s players change their allegiance to their home state? We take a look at how a Catalan team would look, taking away Fifa eligibility regulations.
Goalkeeper – Kiko Casilla
The Real Madrid stopper was born in Alcover, situated in the Tarragona area of the state. Although being recognised as Keylor Navas’ understudy, Casilla has made 27 appearances for the club since his move from Espanyol. He has already featured for his home region, playing the first half in Catalonia’s annual exhibition match in 2013 against Nigeria.
Other goalkeepers that could be featured are Napoli’s Pepe Reina and Espanyol’s Pau López.
Right Back – Sergi Roberto
Born in Reus, Roberto was pictured casting his vote before Barcelona’s match against Las Palmas. He was deemed surplus to requirements during the 15-16 at Camp Nou but has now made the right back position his own.
Valencia defender Martin Montoya or fellow Barcelona player Aleix Vidal could also take the RB slot for the Catalans.
Centre Backs – Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra
Pique has had a strong voice in regards to Catalonian Independence, and his support for the vote has become a major part of Spanish news over the past couple of days.
During an open training session with the Spanish squad in Madrid on Monday, fans booed and chanted for Pique to be removed from the national team, and it has been reported that the relationship between him and Sergio Ramos has worsened due to his vocal support for independence and criticism of Rajoy. Nevertheless, the former Manchester United player has won pretty much everything in the sport and would be a vital player in a Catalan team.
Pique’s former team mate Marc Bartra would fill in the other centre half position. Now at Borussia Dortmund, Bartra was born in Sant Jaume dels Domenys, a village in Tarragona.
Real Betis loanee Jordi Amat and Marc Muniesa of Girona could also be considered into the side.
Left Back – Jordi Alba
Born in Barcelona, Alba has been ever present in Barca’s defence since his move from Valencia five years ago. Espanyol left back Dídac Vilà could provide cover for Alba in the side.
Midfield – Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas & David López
Born in the second largest city of the Vallès Occidental region, Sabadell, Sergio Busquets has featured in 8 of Catalonia’s annual friendlies. Still only 29 years old, Busquets could be seen as a key figure for the Catalan side for years to come.
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas was born in Arenys de Mar, Barcelona and came through Barcelona’s La Masia academy with Gerard Pique before a move to Arsenal in 2003. Capped 110 times with the Spanish national side, Fabregas has featured in 3 friendlies for Catalonia.
Barcelona born David López would complete the central trio in midfield.
After returning to Espanyol after a spell at Napoli, López has been a regular in the midfield, although has been utilized as a centre back in the past. He has featured in one friendly for Catalonia in the past.
SD Eibar’s recent signing Joan Jordán and Sporting Lisbon’s Oriol Rosell could also be selected for the Catalan side.
Wingers – Gerard Deulofeu and Keita Baldé
Born in Riudarenes, Girona, Deulofeu returned to the club he signed for as a 9 year old child after spending time in England, Italy and a season long spell with Sevilla. He has already featured ¬7 times for Barcelona this season, with the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain and an injured Ousmane Dembele giving him the opportunity of more game time than others may have predicted.
Choosing to play for his parents’ country of origin, Senegal, Baldé was born in Arbúcies, Girona and has already featured for the Catalonia side, playing against Basque Country in 2015. The 22 year old is seen as an exciting prospect, which has been proved after he signed a 5 year deal with AS Monaco in the summer.
Stoke’s Bojan Krkic and Real Betis’ summer signing Cristian Tello could also feature for the side.
Forward – Gerard Moreno
Born in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, Barcelona, the Espanyol striker has already featured three times for Catalonia, scoring in last year’s 3-3 draw with Tunisia. With Deulofeu and Baldé offering plenty of service from the wings, Moreno would be seen as a dependable goal threat for the Catalonians.
Moreno’s team mate and Catalonia regular Sergio Garcia could also feature for the team, having scored 9 times in 14 games.
Manager – Pep Guardiola
Former Espanyol midfielder and manager Sergio González was the manager for Catalonia during last year’s friendly against Tunisia, but you would imagine that if the state would like to be known as a strong national side, Pep would be the man to help see it through.
After winning La Liga and the German Bundesliga as well as the Champions League twice, Guardiola has also been vocal in support for independence.
In a 2016 interview, Barcelona legend Xavi stated that a Catalan national team “would be among the best 10 or 15 sides in the world.” With a list of players like the ones mentioned in this article, it would be hard to argue with him.