Lionel Messi has been handed a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, according to reports in the Spanish media and relayed by BBC News.
Messi’s father, Jorge, has also received the same sentence.
However, according to Spanish newspaper AS, Messi will not serve any time behind bars as the sentence is under 24 months.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Messi has also been fined two million euros after being found guilty of three tax crimes.
The Barcelona superstar, who recently announced his international retirement, told a Spanish court that he had no knowledge of doing any wrongdoing.
Messi denies doing any wrongdoing
"I didn't know anything," Messi said while giving evidence, per the Independent. "I only worried about playing football."
"I signed what he told me to sign because I trusted my father.
"I trusted my father, and the lawyers said that I could (sign the documents)."
Why won't Messi spend time in prison?
In Spain, according to football writer Dermot Corrigan, nobody who receives a prison sentence of less than two years - for a first offence - ever serves time in prison.
Meanwhile, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has revealed that Messi will now have a criminal record - pending an appeal.
Did Lionel Messi deserve a proper prison sentence? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms