According to emerging reports, Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after being accused of tax evasion.
The 29-year-old international footballer was accused of creating a number of fake companies in Uruquay and Belize in order to avoid taxation on image rights between 2007 and 2009.
While the footballer will not actually spend time behind bars as the Spanish system states that prison terms under two years can be served on probation, he was fined €1.9 million by a court in Barcelona and will face imprisonment if he reoffends.
It has been established that Messi, who earns more than a quarter of a million euro a week and won Fifa World Player of the Year five times, attempted to evade €4.1 million in tax over the course of two years, but insists he was unaware of these financial oversights
Messi's father, Jorge, who – according to his son – dealt with the footballer's financial affairs, received the same sentence as his son.