Javier Mascherano has struck a deal with authorities to ensure that he avoids a spell in Spanish prison, according to the latest reports.
Prison sentence suspended
The Argentine is said to have pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and was forced to come to an agreement with the State Attorney that means he will pay a fine of €815,000, as well as having accepted a one-year jail sentence, according to Goal.
However, the term behind bars will be suspended - Mascherano will only physically go to jail if he commits the same offence within the next 12 months.
The former Liverpool star had originally been accused of not paying tax on image rights received from Nike.
It’s believed he had ceded his image rights to a company based in Portugal in order to avoid paying tax on them between 2011 and 2012.
The deal he has struck with the State Attorney is expected to be confirmed in court in the near future, which means that he will avoid a literal spell in prison. Nonetheless, a cloud is sure to hang over his head moving forward.
What’s more, Mascherano’s admission puts a new spotlight on teammate Lionel Messi, who was previously facing similar charges.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner was set to face tax fraud charges along with his father, after a Spanish court ruling earlier this year, with lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities having demanded a 22-month jail sentence for both defendants in that case.
The charges against Messi have since been dropped, but his father, Jorge, is still under scrutiny.
Football fans, do you think Mascherano's suspended sentence and fine is a fair outcome? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.