Legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez and defender Gerard Pique will come out of international retirement to play for Catalonia.
Xavi Hernandez and Gerard Pique will be among the ones to return to international football for a friendly game for Catalonia.
The duo, who has more than 200 caps combined for Spain’s national football team, as well as a World Cup and a Euro title, will take on Venezuela in an international friendly on Monday.
The game will take place in Girona’s Montilivi Stadium.
Apart from the two, there will be a number of former Barcelona players who will return for the international friendly.
Bojan Krkic, Oriol Romeu, Marc Muniesa, Marc Bartra, Martin Montoya and Aleix Vidal – all former Barcelona footballers, are the part of the squad for the friendly game against Venezuela.
Catalonia’s squad is majorly comprised of players from Barcelona, Girona, Eibar and Espanyol.
The side is not recognized by FIFA or UEFA, and so, Catalonia is not allowed to feature in competitive games. They played their first international football game in 1912 against France, where they suffered a 7-0 loss.
However, despite the non-recognition from the international football bodies, Catalonia has played a number of heavyweight friendlies – including the one against Argentina, where they famously defeated the side 4-2.
The Argentina side, which was captained by Angel Di Maria, lost to a Catalonian team comprising of players like Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Bojan Krkic in 2009. The legendary Johan Cruyff managed the side.
Here’s the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Isaac Becerra (Nástic de Tarragona), Edgar Badía (Elche).
Defenders: Martín Montoya (Brighton), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Real Betis), Aleix Vidal (Sevilla), Dídac Vila (Espanyol), Marc Cucurella (Eibar), Marc Muniesa (Girona).
Midfielders: Víctor Sánchez (Espanyol), Xavi Hernández (Al Sadd), Pere Pons (Girona), Óscar Melendo (Espanyol), Joan Jordán (Eibar), Alex Granell (Girona), Oriol Romeu (Southampton), Aleix García (Girona).
Forwards: Sergio García (Espanyol), Bojan Krkic (Stoke City), Marc Cardona (Eibar).
How Twitter reacted..
Gerard Pique and Xavi have been named in Catalonia’s squad to play Venezuela in a friendly. pic.twitter.com/1nsk4ZFkZH
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 20, 2019
Catalonia are set to field a star-studded line-up when they take on Venezuela in a friendly next week. Girona’s Estadi Montilivi hosts the encounter on March 25, which will be Catalonia’s first match to be played within an official FIFA window for in.. https://t.co/G2Q1sP2Ka4
— One Stop Sports (@oss365) March 21, 2019
A look at the curious existence of the Catalunya national football team, who are playing Venezuela on Monday in Girona. Xavi and Piqué will be playing, but a number of La Liga players will not be after their clubs vetoed their call-ups. Find out why here:https://t.co/yOyrhq7OHm
— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) March 21, 2019
Oriol Romeu has been named in the Catalonia squad that will face Venezuela on 25th March, among stars such as Xavi and Pique. 🙌
— Southampton Page (@SouthamptonPage) March 20, 2019
This will be Catalonia’s first international friendly since December 2016.