Guardiola: Barcelona key to Catalan independence hopes

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The independence movement in the Manchester City boss' homeland is still going and he hopes the famous club can help lead it

Pep Guardiola has called on Barcelona to take on a leading role in Catalunya's fight for independence.

The Manchester City boss has been a vocal supporter of a referendum being held to decide if the region should become independent from Spain.

However, the last public vote on the issue was deemed illegal by the Spanish authorities and sparked a massive crackdown from police, who attacked voters and arrested the many of the organisers of the vote.

But the independence movement is still going strong, and the native Catalan and former Barcelona boss has called on the club to help it along.

"Of course, Barcelona must play an important role in the process. It is impossible to understand Barcelona without knowing what happened in Catalonia in the past," he told Marca.

"It is impossible, but I understand that sometimes being on the board or being the president, being in power, means you must manage the situation.

"Sometimes, that isn't easy but you cannot deny that Barcelona is very important with the identification with our language and culture.

"Why can't public figures get involved in this, when people relate sports and politics.

Pep Guardiola ribbon

"Years ago, in Valencia, Guus Hiddink, who is one of the greatest coaches in history, stopped a game because he saw Nazi flags in the crowd.

"He said that if those flags with swastikas were not removed then they wouldn't play.

"Of course, he used his power but when it is done for this kind of thing then it is very good."

There has been a lot of talk over what will happen to Barca if the region separates from Spain, as they may not be eligible to play in La Liga any more.

Guardiola, though, is not concerned.

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"I think it is the least of the worries if Barcelona play in the Spanish league or not," he said

"If society makes a decision, the solution will be found. In the end, what is decided in the referendum will determine a way for people to live better, or not.

"But I do not have the answer."

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