Barcelona must stay in La Liga, says Benzema

The France international feels the division would be damaged if the Clasico rivalry were no longer to take place as a result of Catalan independence

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​Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema believes Barcelona must stay in La Liga, regardless of whether Catalunya gains independence from Spain.

The autonomous region is set to vote on independence in a referendum on November 22.

Javier Tebas, president of the Liga del Futbol Profesional (LFP) has indicated that 22-time Spanish champions Barca and city rivals Espanyol will be ineligible to play in Spain’s footbal system should Catalunya opt to separate from Spain.

But Benzema feels it is imperative that Real’s arch rivals remain in the Spanish top flight.

“We need Barcelona to stay in the league,” Benzema told a press conference while on France duty. “That’s what football is all about – two great teams like Madrid and Barca playing against each other.

“If they need to leave La Liga then that would be a problem so I hope things stay as they are.”

Madrid host Barca at the Santiago Bernabeu two weeks on Saturday.

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