Could Barcelona play in the Premier League?

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Imagine Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta emerging from a Premier League tunnel wearing Barcelona shirts.

It seems like the stuff of fantasy or computer games. But if Catalunya wins independence from Spain, then the region’s sports minister believes it could open up the possibility for Barcelona to compete in the Premier League.

An unsanctioned ballot is due to take place this weekend over the issue of Catalunya’s independence, despite Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy declaring the vote as “illegal”.

But if the region becomes independent from Spain, then Gerard Figueras says Catalan teams could choose which league they want to compete in.

“In the case of independence, Catalan teams in La Liga – Barcelona, Espanyol and Girona – will have to decide where they want to play – in the Spanish league or a neighbouring country like Italy, France or the Premier League,’ said Figueras.

“Now in Spain, there are teams from other countries who play in national leagues – clubs from Andorra in football and basketball.

“Monaco play in France, in England, Welsh clubs. I don’t think that UEFA has anything against seeing another club play in a different league from their country.”

Barcelona themselves are yet to be drawn on the independence debate, which has prompted growing tensions in the city.