Catalan-born players such as Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Xavi played key roles as Spain became the world's dominant footballing force with victories at the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
Now, following Sunday's Catalonia independence referendum - where voters were asked whether they wish Catalonia to become an independent republic from Spain - the international futures of players from the region could be cast into the spotlight.
Catalonia already boast a representative side, which has been playing matches for over a century but is not a member of either FIFA or UEFA, and here we look at what a first XI of locally-born players could look like:
Kiko Casilla (Real Madrid, one Spain cap)
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal, three caps and no goals for Spain)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona, 91 caps and five goals for Spain)
Jordi Amat (Swansea, uncapped)
Jordi Alba (Barcelona, 55 caps and six goals for Spain)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona, 99 caps and two goals for Spain)
Sergi Roberto (Barcelona, three caps and one goal for Spain)
Xavi (Al Sadd, 133 caps and 13 goals for Spain)
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea, 110 caps and 15 goals for Spain)
Keita Balde (Monaco, 15 caps and three goals for Senegal)
Sergio Garcia (Espanyol, two caps and no goals for Spain)
Coach: Pep Guardiola (Manchester City, 47 Spain caps)