Soccer icon Pep Guardiola has said Madrid should heed the results of Catalonia's snap election that saw separatists win a majority. Police are reportedly investigating Guardiola for speaking at a pro-independence rally.
Manchester City football club manager Pep Guardiola on Friday urged the Spanish government to honor the results of Catalonia's regional election.
"Now the rest of Spain must try to understand the reality that, yesterday, Catalonia showed clearly what it wants," the Catalan-born Guardiola said. "Yesterday was a legal election and the people of Catalonia, with the vote, expressed what they are."
Catalan separatist parties won an overall majority during Thursday's snap election while the pro-Madrid Citizens party won the most seats for a single party.
The vote was called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government after weeks of political turmoil after the regional government held an independence referendum in October that was dubbed unconstitutional.
In the aftermath, Rajoy sacked Catalonia's government and several Catalan lawmakers have been imprisoned or charged for holding the illegal referendum.
Guardiola, a former coach for Barcelona and Bayern Munich, has previously voiced his support for jailed Catalan politicians Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart. For the past two months, Guardiola has been wearing a yellow ribbon, which is linked to a campaign demanding their release.
Reports: Guardiola under investigation
Reports also circulated on Friday that Spanish police were investigating Guardiola for speaking at a pro-independence rally in Catalonia this summer.
When asked if he was concerned about being named in an investigation, Guardiola responded, "We will see what happens."
According to the Catalan newspaper ABC, Spanish police are investigating high-profile figures who tried to convince the Catalan public to vote in the illegal independence referendum.
A police investigation into jailed independence activists Sanchez and Cuixart also mentioned Guardiola's name, ABC reported, citing a police report.
On June 11, Guardiola spoke in favor of independence at a rally in Barcelona alongside ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
The police report reportedly called pro-independence rallies like the one attended by Guardiola "a germ of hatred towards the state."
The findings of the police investigation will be passed on to investigating Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llaren.
rs/sms (AFP, SID)