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Lionel Messi could legally switch to ‘Catalonia’ from Argentina should Fifa recognise Spanish region’s independence

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.

Lionel Messi would be allowed to represent an independent Catalonia
Lionel Messi would be allowed to represent an independent Catalonia
AFP
Lionel Messi is Argentina's record goal scorer but could still play for Catalonia
Lionel Messi is Argentina’s record goal scorer but could still play for Catalonia
EPA

Despite being Argentina‘s record goal scorer, the Barcelona superstar will be able to represent Catalonia due to a Fifa loophole.

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.

Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto could both play for independent Catalonia
Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto could both play for independent Catalonia
EPA
Catalonia has declared independence from Spain, but it is not officially recognised
Catalonia has declared independence from Spain, but it is not officially recognised
Reuters

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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World Cup-winners Gerard Pique — who would absolutely relish the opportunity to switch allegiance — Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas could all switch allegiance from Spain.

As could Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin and Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra.


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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.