Lionel Messi given 21-month jail sentence for fraud

Messi is one of the most famous footballers in the world

Messi has won the World Footballer of the Year award five times

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in jail by Spain's supreme court - but is unlikely to serve time.

Spanish newspaper El Pais says the court ratified an earlier sentence conferred by a regional tribunal in Barcelona, and found Messi guilty of defrauding Spain's finance ministry of €4.1 million  (£3.5 million).

The Argentine playmaker was found guilty of three counts of fraud, relating to his earnings in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The court found that Messi had failed to pay tax on image rights totalling around €10.1 million accrued during this period.

Messi's father, Jorge Horacio Messi, received the same sentence, the pair given seven months for each of the years in which the offences occurred. Messi and his father were also given fines of €2 million and €1.5 million respectively.

However both men are likely to avoid jail, as sentences of under two years in Spain are usually suspended unless there is a prior offence.

Messi, who has spent his entire career at Barcelona, is widely regarded as the greatest player in the world and considered by some to be the greatest of all time. During his time at the Camp Nou he has won four Champions League and eight Spanish championship titles, and been voted World Footballer of the Year five times.