Catalonia made global headlines in 2017 with street protests in favour of independence
12 January, 2018, 20:54
The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, has repeatedly said Barcelona would be booted out of the Spanish league along with all other Catalan clubs in the event of independence, as only teams from Spain and Andorra are legally entitled to compete in the Spanish leagues.
So if Barcelona continue to play in La Liga regardless of what happens with Catalan independence in the future Messi will stay. They seem armed to battle for few titles this year.
The referendum had direct ramifications for Barcelona who, on the day that it was held, chose to play their La Liga game against Las Palmas behind closed doors in response to police violence against would-be voters. Barca are nine points ahead of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid and 17 clear of champions Real Madrid, who were visiting Celta Vigo later on Sunday.
Aside from a Marc-Andre ter Stergen save to keep out Shaquell Moore in a one-on-one opportunity, Barca eased to victory, extending their run to 26 matches unbeaten in all competitions.
Ousmane Dembele however made his first league start in more than three months.
Ernesto Valverde's side refused to let their 1-1 Copa del Rey draw at Celta Vigo on Thursday spoil their trip to the Hospital de Sant Pau in Catalonia.
It only took 12 minutes for them to open scoring against the weakened visitors, with Jordi Alba heading the ball down for Messi to volley home in off the post.
The deal saw Coutinho become the second most expensive footballer ever behind compatriot Neymar, who moved from Barcelona to Paris St Germain for 222 million euros in August.
The second goal arrived seven minutes before the interval, as Suarez controlled Sergi Roberto's fine ball into the box before firing home.