Madrid - Catalonia's revived independence campaign gained its highest-profile supporter on Monday, when FC Barcelona soccer icon Pep Guardiola became a candidate for the two main parties supporting a split from Spain, a euro MP said.
Guardiola, a former captain of last season's Spanish league winners, who led them to Champions League glory as manager in 2009, will be the last name on the parties' joint candidate list for regional elections in September, Ramon Tremosa said.
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"Josep Guardiola will close the united list," Tremosa, a Catalan lawmaker in Brussels, said on his Twitter feed.
Placing Guardiola, who now manages German champions Bayern Munich, last on the list means that, barring an unprecedented landslide, he has no chance of being elected.
He in any case has no intention of entering politics. But he wanted to make his support for the independence campaign clear, the newspaper El Pais said, without citing sources.
The campaign has lost ground in recent months amid political infighting in the northeastern region and the emergence of leftist parties more interested in social issues than separatism.
But it gained fresh impetus with last Monday's decision by the Convergencia Democratica de Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya parties to run the joint list.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, gearing up for national elections towards the end of this year, dismissed notions that the regional ballot amounted to a vote on secession, saying: "There will be no Catalan independence."