May 23, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
Controversy out of Barcelona today where fans of RCD Espanyol are livid over the city’s decision to adorn the famous statue of Christopher Columbus with a giant replica of the team’s new shirt design.
The two sides meet this weekend in El Derbi Barceloní. With the Blaugrana already having clinched the La Liga title, the Champions are now setting their sites on equaling Real Madrid’s record mark of 100 points, which the capital side achieved last season. To reach the feet Barca will need to defeat Espanyol at Cornella-El Prat and Malaga at Camp Nou on June 1st.
For 11th place Espanyol, this weekend’s match afforded them little to play for until their neighbors decided to inflame the rivalry. Barcelona’s city council permitted the statute after receiving money from the club as part of a publicity stunt. As part of the deal, the shirt was signed by some of the Barcelona players and is set to remain in place from until June 9th.
The city’s decision to permit Columbus to wear the kit chafes the fans of Los Periquitos, who believe Barca receives far more than their fair share of support from local institutions. Espanyol fan groups, through an official statement, have already said that as a result of the statute they plan to turn their backs and whistle when their team perform the traditional guard of honour to welcome the newly crowned champions on to the pitch.
One Espanyol fan group in particular, @PERICOZ, went so far as to send a Tweet of encouragement to the pigeons of Barcelona to “do what you have to do” on the shoulders of Columbus.
So what do you guys think? Are Espanyol fans serious with this complaint? If so, do they have legitimate beef or is it just sour grapes?
One thing is for sure, it can’t be easy to share a city with the likes of the Catalan giants.
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