Catalan independence: Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid forbidden from travelling on team bus to Catalonia for security reasons

Ronaldo and other stars will be forced to travel in an unmarked bus

Ronaldo and other stars will be forced to travel in an unmarked bus

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

They may be the world's best football team, but even Real Madrid have been dragged in to the maelstrom surrounding Catalonia.

Real officials have decided not to use their official team bus for the forthcoming match at Girona, a stronghold of Catalan separatism and birthplace of regional figurehead Carles Puigdemont

This means players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, and their manager Zinedine Zidane, will be forced to travel on a bus specially hired for the occasion for the match on October 28.

Real's regular bus carries a huge mock-up of the team's badge on its side, and it is thought this symbol could be potentially inflammatory given the team's links with Spanish rule and the Franco era.

The Madrid club say they have not received a security threat, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo. However, the paper continues, "the uncertainty that accompanies the current situation in Catalonia dictates that certain routines in Zinedine Zidane's expedition are going to change for security reasons."

Real Madrid's regular bus will be out of action for this game (YouTube)

El Mundo also says the bus will instead set off for London, where Real Madrid are due to play Tottenham in the Champions League three days after the match in Girona.

If the bus was damaged in Catalonia, it could mean key pieces of equipment, such as the players' boots, could not be conveyed to London in time for the game.

Tensions remain high in Catalonia, almost a month on from the region's independence referendum which returned an overwhelming majority in favour of independence.

Real president Florentino Perez has waded into the debate by saying he thinks it is "unthinkable" that FC Barcelona, Catalonia's biggest club, is expelled from La Liga.