MJ.com: It also seems that some clubs, like Barcelona in Spain, function almost as what Marxists might call “harmless” venues for fans to express their frustrations towards their government.

FF: Sure. Barca is sort of this opiate of the masses — during the Franco dictatorship, it was a harmless outlet for Catalans to vent against the regime. At the same time, Barca, which is my favorite team, also represents something more than a mere distraction. I think it represents a healthy vision for what a nation should look like and how it should behave. We were talking about the sociology of the game; well, Barca is a team that genuinely manages to transcend class. You go to games and you see fat bourgeois guys with cigars sitting next to street cleaners. There’s this vision of what a liberal society should look like that’s embedded in the concept of the team and the Catalan nationalism it represents.

How Soccer Explains the World | Mother Jones