Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría is to file a lawsuit for defamation against Hristo Stoichkov after the former Barcelona player and outspoken supporter of Catalonian independence accused the Popular Party politician, her father, grandfather and her infant son of being supporters of the late dictator Francisco Franco.
Government sources confirmed to Spanish news agency Efe that Sáenz de Santamaría has decided to launch legal action against Stoichkov after he said during an interview on US television that she had “sent in the police to hit innocent people” during the disturbances that took place during Catalonia’s independence referendum last Sunday.
Stoichkov: "The Spanish government is a complete disgrace"
“Her grandfather, Francoist. Her father, Francoist. Her, Francoist as well. And her son. Is she the one to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do? Please, just resign now. You can’t order the police to his innocent people. The Spanish government is a complete disgrace. That’s why you are where you are, cut off from the rest of the world,” Stoichkov said.
The former Bulgaria international was presumably linking the deputy PM with Spanish military figure José Antonio Sáenz de Santamaría, who fought on the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War and held several posts in the subsequent dictatorship under Franco. However, the two are not related.
Stoichkov was a member of the Barcelona “dream team” of the 1990s and displayed an estelada (the flag of Catalan independence) after the side’s 1992 European Cup triumph at Wembley. A staunch supporter of Catalan sovereignty, Stoichkov also used to wear the Catalan flag on his captain’s armband.