Catalonia national football team
The Catalonia national football team (Catalan: Selecció de futbol de Catalunya) is the official football team of Catalonia. It is organised by the Catalan Football Federation, founded in 1900. The team has been referred to by various names including Selecció Catalana, Selecció de Barcelona and the Catalan XI.
|Association||Catalan Football Federation (Federació Catalana de Futbol)|
|Head coach||Sergio González|
|Most caps||Sergio García (16)|
|Top scorer||Sergio García (9)|
|Home stadium||Camp Nou|
| France 7–0 Catalonia |
(Paris, France; 21 February 1912)
| Catalonia 5–0 Lithuania |
(Barcelona, Spain; 22 December 2000)
Catalonia 5–0 Nigeria
(Barcelona, Spain; 22 December 1998)
| Spain 7–0 Catalonia |
(Barcelona, Spain; 13 March 1924)
France 7–0 Catalonia
(Paris, France; 21 February 1912)
Catalonia is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship. Other than in certain cases where other nationalities are involved, Catalan players are full Spanish citizens who are eligible to play for Spain, and often do.
Since 1904, the team has played nearly 200 games against various national, regional and club teams. International friendly games have been played more regularly since 1997. Among the teams they have played are Nigeria, Brazil, and Argentina.
The Catalonia team made their debut in 1905 Initially they played against various club teams such as Club Espanyol, Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Irún Sporting Club. On 2 February 1912, they made their international friendly debut against France, losing 7–0 in Paris. The team was: Reñé, Irízar, Amecharruza, Alemany, Peris, Armet, Forns, Rodríguez, Comamala, Morales and Ramiro. On 1 December 1912, the two teams met again in Barcelona and this time the Catalans won 1–0. In 1914, the Catalan XI played the Basque Country XI for the first time, but there is no record of the result. The first recorded game between the two teams took place on 3 January 1915 at San Mamés Stadium; the Catalan XI lost 6–1.
Copa Príncep d'AstúriesEdit
Between 1915 and 1926, the Catalan XI competed in an inter-regional competition. They finished as runners-up in 1915 and won the Copa Príncep d'Astúries for the first time in 1916, beating a Castile/Madrid XI 8–5 over two games. They then relinquished the trophy in 1917 after losing to the Castile XI 2–0. During the 1920s, a team featuring Josep Samitier, Paulino Alcántara, Sagibarba and Ricardo Zamora helped the Catalan XI win the competition in 1922, 1924 and 1926. The last competition in 1926 was a play-off between the two teams who had won the competition the most. The Catalans beat an Asturias XI 6–3 over two games.
As well as playing other regional teams from throughout Spain and Europe, the 1920s also saw the Catalan XI play several international friendly matches. On 13 March 1924, at the Camp de Les Corts, the Catalan XI played Spain for the first time. The Spain XI included Josep Samitier and Zamora, two of the best Catalan players of the era, while the Catalan XI featured Alcántara and Sagibarba. Samiter scored twice as the Spain XI won 7–0. On 13 December 1925, Samitier, Zamora, Alcántara and Sagibarba were on the same side as the Catalan XI beat Czechoslovakia at the Estadi de Sarrià. After conceding a penalty and going down 1–0, Sagibarba then equalised with another penalty before Samitier clinched a 2–1 win. On 7 July 1926, the Catalan XI played Czechoslovakia in Prague. Despite Samitier putting the Catalans 1–0 ahead, they eventually lost 2–1.
Catalonia vs. BrazilEdit
During the 1930s, Catalonia continued playing friendly games against an array of teams; 1934 was a particularly good year. On 2 February, they played Spain and lost 2–0 at Les Corts. Four months later, they played Brazil twice. On 17 June, the Catalan XI beat Brazil 2–1 at Les Corts and then on 24 June, they held them to a 2–2 draw at the Vista Alegre in Girona. The Brazil team had been in Europe to play in the official 1934 FIFA World Cup and included the legendary Leônidas in their team. The Catalan XI completed a good month when on June 29 they beat the reigning official La Liga champions, Athletic Bilbao, 5–1.
The Franco eraEdit
After the Spanish Civil War, caudillo Francisco Franco imposed several restrictions on Catalonia, abolishing the Generalitat de Catalunya and banning the official use of the Catalan language and the Catalan flag. Despite these restrictions, the Catalan XI continued to play regularly during this period and even played Spain twice. On 19 October 1947, at the Sarrià and with a team featuring Juan Velasco, Marià Gonzalvo, Joan Segarra and César, they beat Spain 3–1. On 9 August 1953, Spain avenged this defeat with a 6–0 win.
During this era, several notable Barcelona players, including the Spanish players László Kubala, Luis Suárez, Evaristo and later Jesús María Pereda, played for the Catalan XI. On 26 January 1955, in a friendly game against Bologna at Les Corts, Kubala was also joined by another guest player, Alfredo Di Stéfano. The Catalan XI won 6–2 with two goals from Kubala and one from Di Stéfano. On 1 September 1956, Di Stéfano returned to Les Corts with Real Madrid, recent winners of the first official European Cup, and played a Selecció de Barcelona. Real won the game 7–3.
The Catalan XI marked the end of the Franco era with a friendly game against the Soviet Union at the Camp Nou on 6 June 1976. The team included Carles Rexach, guest Netherlands players Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, and Chilean international Carlos Caszely who played for Espanyol. The game finished 1–1 with Neeskens scoring for the Catalan XI. Cruyff's son, Jordi, would subsequently play regularly for the Catalan XI.
Since the restoration of democracy in the 1970s, the Catalonia representative team has regularly played international friendly matches. They put together a string of successful results against countries like Bulgaria, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Chile. On 5 May 2002, Catalonia hosted Brazil in a warm up friendly game before the official 2002 World Cup. Brazil, who went on to win the official competition, beat Catalonia 3–1. In 2004, Brazil returned for a second friendly game and this time won 5–2 at the Camp Nou, where some months later Argentina defeated Catalonia 3–0. The last friendly matches have been against Paraguay, Costa Rica, Basque Country, Argentina and Colombia.
Johan Cruyff eraEdit
On 2 November 2009, it was announced that Dutch legend and former Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff would be the new coach of Catalonia. On 22 December 2009, they played a friendly against Argentina, which ended in a Catalonia win, 4–2 at Camp Nou. On 28 December 2010, Catalonia played another friendly against Honduras winning 4–0 at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. On 30 December 2011, Catalonia played Tunisia in a goalless draw at the Lluís Companys. In their last game under Cruyff, on 2 January 2013, Catalonia drew with Nigeria at the Cornellà-El Prat, 1–1.
Fixtures and resultsEdit
- For all past match results of the national team, see single-season articles and the team's results page
|25 April Friendly||Catalonia||2–1||Venezuela||Girona, Catalonia, Spain|
|Report||Rosales 58'||Stadium: Estadi Montilivi|
Referee: Xavier Estrada Fernández (Spain)
- As of 25 March 2019
|Serbia and Montenegro||1||1||0||0||1||0||+1||100%|
Due to the unofficial status of the Catalonia team and others, many of the usual conventions of international football do not apply. Players who have already appeared for a FIFA national team can play for the Catalans in addition, but if they are simultaneously called up for both, the FIFA squad (usually Spain) takes precedence. Clubs are also not obligated to release their players, and the request is sometimes refused by clubs outwith the Spanish leagues, or when the fixture takes place during the domestic season and the club has important upcoming fixtures. Eligible players can also choose not to be involved. This means the Catalan squads are frequently below what would be considered their 'full strength', but also means those who do take part are fully committed to the concept, and in many cases would have no other opportunities to experience international football so consider the match to be an important matter. This contrasts with their opponents, as the fixture does not contribute to their Association ranking points or individual cap totals and is thus one of the least significant matches out of several they would play each year. In combination with home advantage for the Catalan team in most of their fixtures, this has led to the results falling in their favour more often than might be expected compared to other nations perceived to have a similar standard of players.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|13||GK||Édgar Badía||12 February 1992||2||0||Elche|
|1||GK||Isaac Becerra||18 June 1988||1||0||Córdoba|
|3||DF||Gerard Piqué||2 February 1987||10||0||Barcelona|
|5||DF||Marc Bartra||15 January 1991||6||0||Betis|
|2||DF||Martín Montoya||14 April 1991||6||0||Betis|
|11||DF||Aleix Vidal||21 August 1989||4||0||Sevilla|
|12||DF||Dídac Vilà||9 June 1989||3||0||Espanyol|
|20||DF||Marc Muniesa||27 March 1992||2||0||Al-Arabi|
|17||DF||Marc Cucurella||22 July 1998||1||0||Getafe|
|4||MF||Víctor Sánchez||8 September 1987||4||0||Unattached|
|8||MF||Pere Pons||20 February 1993||2||0||Alavés|
|15||MF||Joan Jordán||6 July 1994||2||0||Sevilla|
|6||MF||Álex Granell||2 August 1988||1||0||Bolívar|
|18||MF||Oriol Romeu||24 September 1991||1||0||Southampton|
|21||MF||Aleix García||28 June 1997||1||0||Dinamo București|
|14||MF||Óscar Melendo||23 August 1997||1||0||Espanyol|
|23||MF||Riqui Puig||13 August 1999||1||0||Barcelona|
|9||FW||Sergio García (Captain)||9 June 1983||15||9||Unattached RET|
|10||FW||Bojan||20 August 1990||8||7||Montreal Impact|
|19||FW||Javi Puado||25 May 1998||1||1||Espanyol|
|22||FW||Pere Milla||23 September 1992||1||0||Elche|
|7||FW||Marc Cardona||8 July 1995||1||0||Mallorca|
- RET = Retired after latest call-up.
The following players have been called up for the team within the last 12 months and are still available for selection.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Jordi Masip||3 January 1989||3||0||Valladolid||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
|GK||Alberto García||9 February 1985||0||0||Rayo Vallecano||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
|DF||Àlex Moreno||8 June 1993||0||0||Betis||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
|MF||Rubén Alcaraz||1 May 1991||0||0||Valladolid||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
|FW||Enric Gallego||12 September 1986||0||0||Osasuna||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
|FW||Àlex Gallar||19 March 1992||0||0||Cartagena||v. Venezuela, 25 March 2019WD|
- WD = Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.
- For a list of recent Catalonia national team players, see here
- For a list of players from Catalonia who have represented FIFA national teams, see here
Because Catalonia is not a member of either UEFA or FIFA due to it being a region of Spain and plays only in unofficial friendly matches, normal eligibility rules based on birthplace do not apply, and a number of players who were not born in Catalonia and played for other international teams have guested for the Catalan XI, although this is much less frequent in the 21st century. With the notable exception of Alfredo Di Stéfano, most were playing for Barcelona or Espanyol at the time. Some of these players, such as Andrés Iniesta, César Rodríguez, Francisco Bru, Guillermo Amor and Pepe Reina had lived a large part of their lives in Catalonia due to their football careers.
- Other countries
- Copa Príncep d'Astúries
- Winners (4): 1916, 1921, 1924, 1926
- Runners-Up: 1915, 1917
The Elo rating system was adapted for football by adding a weighting for the kind of match, an adjustment for the home team advantage, and an adjustment for goal difference in the match result. Its estimated Elo is 1861 (fantasy rank: 16th; 27 March 2019). Its highest Elo were 1885 points (after winning against Honduras on December 28, 2010). At that time it would have been ranked seventh in the world, behind only Spain, Germany, Argentina and England and above the likes of Portugal, Italy and France.
- Melgar, Blai (25 March 2019). "Sergio García fa història amb la selecció catalana" [Sergio García makes history with the Catalan national team]. El Món (in Catalan). Retrieved 28 November 2019.
- "Catalonia and Basque Country reignite call for independent national football identities". The Telegraph. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- esportcatala.com Archived September 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- fcbarcelona.com Archived November 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- "Vasconia-Cataluña" (PDF). Mundo Deportivo, 4/1/1915. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Cruyff will coach Catalonia team". BBC News. 2 November 2009.
- "Catalonia defeats Honduras". La Prensa.hn (Honduran national newspaper). 29/12/2010.
- "Catalonia draws with Tunisia". El Periódico de Catalunya (Catalionian newspaper) 31/12/2011.
- "Catalunya empata con Nigeria en la despedida de Cruyff". ElPeriodico.com. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- "Catalunya jugará contra Cabo Verde el 30 de diciembre". Lavanguardia.com. 15 November 2013.
- Matt Davis (13 October 2018). "Basque Country: The Spain internationals playing for a different team". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
- "Spanish clubs refuse to release players for Catalonia-Venezuela friendly". The Local. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- "Alcaraz, Masip y Sergio no acudirán a la llamada de la selección catalana" [Alcaraz, Masip and Sergio will not attend the call of the Catalan national team] (in Spanish). Real Valladolid. 19 March 2019.
- "Alberto García y Álex Moreno no acudirán a la convocatoria de la selección catalana" [Alberto García and Álex Moreno will not attend the call of the Catalan national team] (in Spanish). Rayo Vallecano. 19 March 2019.