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AS the coach whose tactics revolutionized football, Pep Guardiola has little regard for convention.

So any notion that politics should be distinct from sports is alien to the Manchester City manager, who is incensed by the treatment of the Catalan independence movement. It’s why a yellow ribbon has been attached to Guardiola’s clothing on the touchline and in media appearances since the region’s thwarted attempt in October to split from Spain.

Guardiola is a Catalan sporting icon, a status achieved by transforming Barcelona’s soccer team into a revered, all-conquering trophy machine during a 2008-12 managerial reign that become synonymous with quick-passing tiki-taka tactics.

Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola wears a yellow ribbon on his jumper during the celebrations after his side won the English League Cup Final
Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola wears a yellow ribbon on his jumper during the celebrations after his side won the English League Cup FinalSource: AP
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Despite now living in England, trying to usurp Barcelona on the football stage, Guardiola’s affection for Catalonia still burns brightly. Especially, in his view, when Catalonia’s aspirations are being subjugated by the Spanish government.

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