Lionel Messi Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Tax Fraud


Lionel Messi is having a tough summer.

The superstar soccer player suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the Copa América final in June after missing a penalty kick for Argentina, leading Messi to say he was “done” playing for the national team. Now the 29-year-old is facing another rough situation.

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The Barcelona forward and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to 21 months in prison, according to CNN. The 29-year-old will not have to worry about going to jail, though—Spanish law allows sentences less than two years to be served as probation, meaning Messi just needs to keep his nose clean and he will stay out of prison.

Although Messi likely won’t serve jail time, he will have to pay a hefty fine of $2.2 million, while his father will have to pay $1.7 million. (Of course, that’s a drop in the bucket for Messi—he makes over $20 million per year in salary.)

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Messi can appeal the sentence to the Spanish supreme court. If he does take that route, his employer will be supportive: “FC Barcelona continues to be at the disposal of Leo Messi and his family to support him in whatever action he decides to take in defense of his honesty and his legal interests,” the team said in a statement.

For any Messi fans trying to look on the bright side of things: The Spanish Primera League season is just a couple months away.

Need something to hold you over until then? Here is a look at the unbelievable goal Messi scored against the United States in the Copa América tournament:

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