A less devastating Barcelona can still turn up intensity

Manchester and Barcelona have an unusual amount in common this week.

As the British continue to agonise about how to leave the EU, or whether to leave at all, the Catalans are preoccupied with events in Madrid where the leaders of their independence movement are on trial for rebellion.

There are huge differences between Brexit and independence for Catalonia of course, but both raise big questions about identity and democracy, and both are centred on deeply divisive referendums. In addition Manchester voted to stay in the EU, unlike the rest of Lancashire, and Barcelona came out narrowly in favour of remaining part of Spain, unlike the rest of Catalonia.

Football was probably not in the minds of the Manchester voters, although United have always seen themselves as a European club, but it weighed in the balance in Barcelona.

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