FC Barcelona and Celtic, which meet in a UEFA Champions League Group G clash later today, may have little in common on the field, but the storied clubs have quite a bit in common off the field, at least where their histories are concerned.
As Fox Sports’ Leander Schaerlaeckens says, Celtic of Scotland and Barcelona of Spain both symbolize minorities in countries that have oppressed them at different times in their past, yet they are both overwhelmingly dominant in their respective leagues, alongside a hated archrival that stands for everything their supporters abhor.
Catholic Celtic has long represented the poor, mostly Irish, minority of a section of Glasgow. Its “frighteningly tense” battles with Protestant Rangers became a proxy for the long-standing conflict over Northern Ireland between the Protestant British, and the Catholic Irish.
Similarly, FC Barcelona has since its inception been the face of Catalonia’s protests against its Spanish rulers in Madrid. Since many Catalonians want to secede from Spain, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have always been hated rivals. In fact, when the two sides met in Barcelona a few weeks ago, supporters held aloft sheets of paper forming a mosaic of a giant Catalan flag, which had followed demonstrations in support of Catalonian independence.