Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been summoned to court by a Spanish judge over tax fraud allegations.
Messi and his father were last week accused of defrauding the Spanish authorities of £3.4million and has now been summoned to face the charges on September 17.
The 25-year-old has claimed he is innocent of three separate accusations of using companies in Belize and Uruguay to trade on his image and defrauding the Spanish state of taxes from income relating to this.
“We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities.
“We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement.
“We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Messi is widely regarded as the best footballer in the world and has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or Player of the Year award for the past four years.
His salary at Barcelona estimated to be €16million a year and he has a number of high-profile sponsorship deals, most notably with sportswear giant Adidas.
Messi could face up to six years in jail ands a substantial fine if found guilty, according to the BBC.