Lionel Messi has been fined £1.7 million and sentenced to 21 months in prison at the verdict of his tax fraud trial on Wednesday morning.
The footballer was accused of evading tax through the use of havens in Belize and Uruguay, in which he reportedly concealed much of his earnings.
However, it is understood that neither Messi or his father, who was also on trial because he handles the footballer's financial affairs, will face any time behind bars, despite a 21-month prison sentence. Instead, he will serve this time under probation.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Spanish-based football journalist Dermot Corrigan, explained the situation on Twitter earlier today, which can be seen below.
Messi and his father were found guilty on three counts of tax fraud in Wednesday's ruling by a Spanish court in Barcelona, yet they will face no jail time because this is their first, non-violent offence.
Messi earns around £26m-a-year annual salary under his current contract with the Spanish champions and is said to have a personal worth of £240 million.
He was on holiday over the summer following the conclusion of the Copa America, in which his Argentinian side lost to Chile on penalties in the final. The striker immediately announced his retirement from international football following the loss but has since been said to be reconsidering.
He is widely recognised as the best player in the world and has won every domestic honour during his time with Barcelona in Spain. He is also the club's all-time leading goalscorer, with 312 goals to his name.
A verdict like this is likely to be very damaging to Messi's image, but as far as he's concerned, it's business as usual as he returns to pre-season training in a few days time.
The player and his father, Jorge Messi, have the option to appeal the sentence through the Spanish supreme court, should they wish to do so.
Will this damage Lionel Messi's image within the game? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms