Barcelona star Lionel Messi may struggle to travel to England after Brexit

Lionel Messi’s last trip to England is certainly not one he will remember fondly.

The Argentine and Barcelona were beaten 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield, blowing yet another three-goal lead in the Champions League.

In the previous round of last year’s competition, Messi also made the trip to Manchester to play United, where he was on the receiving end of a rather rough tackle from Chris Smalling.

He left the north of England with a right shiner above his eye, but at least his trip to the UK in the group stage was far better.

Messi scored twice at Wembley in an impressive 4-2 win over Tottenham.

Whenever the Argentine makes the short trip from Spain to British shores, there are guaranteed headlines.

However, the days of Messi travelling to England could soon be numbered due to Brexit.

Immigration lawyer Andrew Osbourne of firm Lewis Silkin has warned players may face travelling issues once the UK leaves the EU.

In an interview with the Athletic, Osbourne said: “There is a specific point around European games. If you are an EU citizen with a criminal conviction, you can travel to the UK, as long as you are not deemed to be a threat to national security.

“If you are not an EU citizen and have a conviction or prison sentence imposed – even if suspended – you are banned from coming to the UK.

“There are a number of very famous footballers with convictions and suspended sentences for tax evasion. They, thus far, have not had to worry as they have EU passports.

“But post-Brexit, they potentially may not be able to enter the country (as they will be treated like non-EU nationals).

“Anyone with a prison sentence of any sort, the starting point is you are not allowed in.

“This could provide disruption to Champions League squads and also whether they (UEFA) will play finals in England if players potentially may not be able to come in.

“Clubs will need to take steps.”

Messi was convicted of tax fraud in Spain and received a 21-month suspended prison sentence, meaning his entry into England may prove problematic after Brexit.

Although, UEFA and the Home Office will surely grant him an exception, won’t they?

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