Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has given an interview on the thorny political issue of Spain and Catalan independence.
The Spain international, speaking to El Pais Semanal, believes that now is the right time for Spaniards and Catalans to be singing from the same hymn sheet.
“It’s now time to shout ‘Long live Spain’ and ‘Long live Catalonia’ at the same time, isn’t it? I think so,” said Xavi.
“I went to vote on the ninth [in the referendum] because I think it’s an important step for Catalonia.
“We asked for a legal and official referendum, so they should give it to us. It’s as simple as if a friend rings you and says he is ill and you hang up the phone. That happens to Catalonia with Spain.
“We’re friends. We form part of the same country. But it appears they are determined to say no to everything.
“If talking can settle the issue then let’s do it. That’s the way I see it. We needed to vote and to be heard and understood, that’s all.”
Xavi was asked about a time in the past when he had shouted ‘Long live Spain’.
“That’s how I felt. Maybe we’d had a few drinks but I also meant to say ‘Long live Spanish football’ and our national team, which has given us everything.”