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Guardiola ‘would have played for a Catalan national team’

Bayern Munich’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola on Tuesday campaigned for political and sporting independence in his native Catalonia region, saying he would gladly have played for a Catalan national side.

In his time as a player, “if a Catalan state had existed, I would have played for Catalonia, because I was born in Santpedor”, north of Barcelona, he said in an interview published by the pro-independence sports lobby Guanyarem.

As it was, Guardiola played 47 matches for the Spanish national team.

From 1990 to 2001 he played for Barcelona. As coach of the club from 2008 to 2012 he led Barcelona to domestic and Champions League glory.

Pro-independence Catalan leaders want Catalonia’s regional election on September 27 to serve as a vote on independence — a move fiercely opposed by Spain’s conservative government.

Guardiola is making a symbolic stand for election in the polls. As the last name on the list, he is not expected to win a seat in the regional parliament, but is a powerful talisman for the independence movement.

“We want to manage our resources ourselves,” he said, calling for “a more socially stable and prosperous country for all”.



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