Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's elected leader, has asked for European Union mediation in negotiations and said Catalonia has "won the right to an independent state".
Pro-independence groups staged a general strike Tuesday, which largely paralyzed the region and its capital city of Barcelona.
Many small businesses were shut for the day.
Some analysts argued that the recent crackdown only helped further unite the pro-independence groups in Catalonia. "They [European officials] have never wanted to listen to us".
Protesters blocked major roads in Catalonia and there was little public transport. "In a civil war, we will kill each other and the politicians will be in the Bahamas enjoying the money that it cost us so much to earn with many hours of work", she posted Tuesday.
Switching to Spanish from Catalan, he thanked Spanish citizens who had sent their "solidarity" to Catalonia.
Youngsters and elderly people, families with small children were among a bustling crowd of jubilant demonstrators that filled the square in protest against the Spanish government's crackdown.
"We very seriously considered the option of postponing the game, but we could not get the Professional Football League (LFP) to approve our request", he added referring to the national body that runs La Liga.
The vote Sunday saw massive violence as Spanish police attempted to prevent the vote.
The Spanish monarch urged "unity" while accusing Catalan leaders of putting national stability at risk by holding the vote. On Wednesday, the European Parliament will discuss the situation in Catalonia.
"Today Catalan society is fractured and in conflict", he said.
"I've seen how President Puigdemont has flooded the streets with his followers to stop people obeying the law and to make them disrespect justice", said Rajoy's deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. "It's not a competition of patriotism; it's about going and giving all you can to win - that's how I understand it".
"The great majority of Catalans have decided not to participate ..."
Puigdemont called on Madrid to remove its police forces, which Catalans criticized as having overreacted on Sunday, and said that he would open an investigation into their actions. If Madrid thinks they will be able to destroy Catalans, they are wrong. "Now it has become emotional". "It has been 300 years that we have been fighting to keep our language and our identity alive".