Guardiola: Barcelona shouldn't have been forced to play Las Palmas

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The La Liga club beat their opponents 3-0 behind closed doors, as violence marred a referendum on Catalan independence

Pep Guardiola has expressed his disappointment that Barcelona were made to play Las Palmas behind closed doors on Sunday, amidst an emotionally charged referendum on Catalan independence.

The Manchester City manager spent 17 years at Barca as a player, before managing the club to untold success between 2008 and 2012.

Guardiola also played seven times for Catalunya, and has repeatedly urged the right of the region's populace to decide if they to secede from Spain.

A referendum on the issue on Sunday was marred by violence, with police striking out at protestors. Barcelona saw some of the most serious violence, with more than 700 people reported injured so far.

Amazingly, Barca played a La Liga match against Las Palmas at an empty Camp Nou on the same day, and Guardiola has insisted that he would not have had the match go ahead had it been his decision.

"The Barca-Las Palmas game? I would not have played it at all," he said on Catalunya Radio.

"If you finally play that game, if you play, it's done with the public, with all the consequences."

Gerard Pique gave an emotional interview after the game, which Barca won 3-0, where he offered to resign from the Spanish national team, and insisted that the Catalan people were "not the bad guys".

Guardiola says he did not watch the interview, but he has insisted that no Catalan player can be thought to dislike Spain, with Pique, Carles Puyol and Xavi cornerstones in arguably the best Spanish international team of all time.

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"I have not listened to Pique, they have told me his words. Gerard expresses himself as the brave guy that he is," he added.

"Gerard, Puyol and Xavi were part of the national team's greatest generation/age. Who could think that we don't like Spain? Spain is a tremendous, tremendous place."

 

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