Barcelona won't leave La Liga for Ligue 1 - former president Joan Laporta

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta does not believe that the European champions will end up quitting La Liga for France's Ligue 1 should Catalonia gain independence.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and, ahead of regional elections there last month, La Liga president Javier Tebas warned that the Spanish league would be "nothing" without the city's football club.

With a move for Catalan independence gaining momentum, the prospect of Barcelona withdrawing from La Liga was brought into focus again. The situation has been compared to the principality of Monaco, whose football team plays in France's top flight.

Speaking on French radio station RMC on Wednesday, Laporta said it was unlikely that Barcelona would want to quit La Liga and give up on exciting fixtures against arch rivals Real Madrid.

"I don't think so because the Spanish league is very interesting with Barcelona and Real Madrid," he said.

"The Clasico is of great value to La Liga and I think all of us will be very intelligent together in order to maintain the status quo of the Iberian league between the states of Catalonia and Spain.

"With humility, I'd say that Barca are too strong and if the Spanish league don't want Barca I think we will be able to play in several nearby leagues like the French, the Italian or the Premier League.

"It's difficult but you [France] have the case of Monaco and Spain has the case of Andorra.

"It's not difficult to convince UEFA or FIFA that, with an independent Catalonia, Barca could play in a major league like the French one or others. But I think that the most intelligent thing would be to maintain the Clasico."

Ultimately, Laporta thinks that talk of Barcelona leaving La Liga is being used for political purposes in the wider debate on independence.

"Exactly, it's a political strategy," he said. "Barca is very important for Catalonia -- it's the most important sporting institution.

"A lot of Catalans are supporters of Barca, which is kind of like a Catalonian national team.

"I'd be very happy to arrive at the point of asking whether Barca will play in the Spanish league or in another because that would mean that Catalonia would be an independent state."