Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday (6 July).
The court also sentenced the Argentine soccer player’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same three crimes. The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the statement said.
However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.
The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around US $2.21 million.
The Barcelona and Argentina international has won FIFA’s Ballon D’Or award four times and the Golden Boot three.
He recently aired his frustration at failing to win the Copa America final for the third time. His Argentina side lost to Chile on penalties.
Messi said he had had enough, indicating he had played his last match representing Argentina, although some of his team mates said they hoped to make him change his mind.