For those of you who don’t know Catalunya is a very industrial area of Spain containing most notably Barcelona which has been attempting to gain independence from Spain for years now. Catalan flags hang from most windows and petitions are regularly on the street. What is less well known is that they actually have a separate football team from Spain (though for tournaments they come together) – The question I pose here is what would happen if they gained independence today? How would the Spanish team suffer and how well would the Catalan team compete?
First lets build a squad:
|1||Kiko Casilla||Real Madrid||GK|
|6||Joan Verdu||Released from Levante||RW/AM/LW/CM|
|11||Jonathan Soriano||RB Salzburg||ST|
|12||Alberto de la Bella||Soceidad||LB|
|15||Marc Bartra||Borussia Dortmund||CB|
|17||Andreu Fontas||Celta Vigo||CB/DM|
5 centre backs,
4 full backs,
2 defensive midfielders,
4 offensive midfielders,
3 wide players,
Plus of course of positional versatility – especially in players like Bojan and Sergi.
From this we can make a team:
Unsurprisingly, the Barcelona connection is strong – every outfield player spent time in La Masia and 5 of them play for the first team today.
Largely this would play out like Barcelona play anyway – Alba and Vidal as offensive fullbacks, Fabregas being creative and free like Iniesta, Sergi the box-to-box runner in the role Rakitic plays, Bartra playing as he did prior to leaving and obviously Busquets and Pique playing the roles of Busquets and Pique. The Front 3 would work a little different – Bojan being the closest this team has to Messi except playing on the left and Deulofeu a true winger unlike Neymar.
Overall, this team would be a pretty impressive force on international stage – Pique, Alba, Busquets and Fabregas are all starters on the Spainsh national team, with Bartra, Vidal and Sergi having been in the squad in the last year (Bartra at EURO 2016).
The biggest issues this team would have would likely be at striker – Soriano and Garcia (though prolific) play in weaker leagues. If they fail to have an impact Bojan has spent a significant portion of the season for Stoke playing as a roaming centre forward, dropping deep at collecting the ball to run at the defence. And if that doesn’t work Fabregas played as a false nine for Spain (and sometimes Barca) for many years – its not preferable, but if needs must.
The only other issues that could be faced are the squad being slightly unbalanced – as many players are defensive leaving few CFs and wingers present, but that is largely caused by the other issue – depth. With players playing in leagues such as the Qatar star league and the La Liga Segunda B many of the backups are not to the standard of the starters. For example, as much as they are good players, Victor Sanchez, Andreu Fontas and Alberto de la Bella are a big step down from Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba.
However the formation of this team may not even be the biggest fallout should these teams split – what happens to the Spanish team? That will be part 2.