RAFAEL Nadal issued a stern warning to Catalonia as the tennis legend attacked plans to hold a banned referendum on Catalan independence from Spain.
The referendum is considered illegal by the Spanish government and last week Catalunya’s parliament passed a law to hold the referendum on October 1 in what has become a bitterly contested issue between central and regional government.
Speaking to El Mundo, he said: “I think what is happening on October 1 ought not to take place because, from my point of view, everyone should respect the law.
“The laws are what they are and one can’t skip the laws because you want to skip them. I can’t run a red light because that traffic light doesn’t seem right to me.”
The 31-year-old, who just won his 16th Grand Slam at the US Open on Sunday, is considered a national hero.
He added: “I don’t understand Spain without Catalunya. I don’t want to understand or see it.
“I believe that together we ought to be able to understand each other and I think we have to make an effort to reach an understanding because I think we are, without any doubt, stronger together than separated.
“Spain is better with Catalunya and Catalunya is better with Spain from my point of view.”
However, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has previously declared his support for the vote. At a demonstration in Barcelona in June, former Barcelona manager Guardiola made a rallying cry in favour of the split.
He said: “We will vote, even if the Spanish state doesn’t want it. There is no other way.”