SHOULD Catalonia’s declaration of independence be recognised by Fifa, they could immediately become World Cup contenders.
And that is because Lionel Messi would have the option to switch allegiances.
As Messi, 30, did not have the option to be a “Catalan” when choosing which country to play for, because it wasn’t a recognised state, he would legally be allowed to make the change.
The five-time Ballon d’Or-winner has lived in the region since he was 14, making him eligible for the switch.
However, should he represent Argentina just once AFTER Catalonia becomes an independent nation, then he would lose that option.
The local government has voted for the region to be independent of Spain, but that decision has not been recognised by several EU states.
Adnan Januzaj has the opportunity to play following their independence from Serbia in 2016, having been born there.
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But, thus far, he is still a Belgium international — despite not having represented the “Red Devils” since 2014.
Aside from Messi, an independent Catalonia would have an incredible array of talent at their disposal.
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Barcelona stars Jordi Alba — a Euro 2012 winner — Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal and Gerard Deulofeu also have the option.
And there would even be room for a Real Madrid player, with No2 goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, having been born in Alcover, a municipality of Catalonia.
Yet, even if they all switched allegiance, Spain would still be able to field a fearsome starting XI.