In Spain, particularly in the contested Catalonia region, soccer is political. The country is home to the two top teams in the world, Football Club Barcelona, or “Barça,” and Real Madrid. Barça is a premier symbol of Catalan identity and pride, while Real Madrid is seen to represent the Spanish crown and Madrid’s rule over Catalonia. As the battle over Catalan independence hits crisis levels, AJ+’s Dena Takruri hangs out with Catalan soccer fans, for whom stadiums are a symbolic battleground over the future of this region.
The battle in Catalonia over independence from Spain reached a turning point Oct. 1, after an independence referendum was met with a brutal crackdown by Spanish national police. Since then, Spain has been witnessing the worst constitutional crisis in its recent history. AJ+’s Dena Takruri went to Catalonia to find out what’s driving thousands of Catalans into the streets to either fight for secession from Spain, or demand unity.