Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has dedicated his team’s 2-1 Champions League win over Napoli to two pro-Catalan independence leaders imprisoned since Monday in Madrid for charges of sedition.
City triumphed at the Etihad stadium on Tuesday to make it three wins out of three in the competition and move three points clear of nearest rivals Shakhtar Donetsk at the top of Group F.
Ex-Barcelona player and coach Guardiola, who has been actively involved in the political campaign for pro-Catalan independence, had words of support for Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural respectively.
Both were leading figures in an independence referendum on Oct. 1, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish government, and since appearing in Madrid’s High Court on Monday have been held in a Madrid jail without bail.
When asked about Sanchez and Cuixart at his postmatch news conference, Guardiola said: “It’s a good time to dedicate them this win.”
Guardiola added: “We have shown in Catalonia that citizenship is bigger than any ideas. Omnium and ANC have always acted with civility, expressing their ideas of what we want. Right now the situation is as it is and we hope they can be released soon because right now it feels as if we all were there.”
More than 200,000 people protested in Barcelona on Tuesday evening over the pair’s detentions and other demonstrations are expected across Catalonia this week.