Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s 21-month jail term, handed down to him last year, will stand, the Spanish Supreme Court has said – but he is unlikely to face any time behind bars.

Messi was convicted last year alongside his father, Jorge, who manages his finances, of £3.5 million tax fraud. They were convicted of three counts of fraud, for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009, and were also found guilty of resorting to fictitious companies to evade tax on income from companies using Messi’s image rights.

However, Messi will not be facing porridge as, under the Spanish system, prison terms of less than 2 years can be served under probation.

During his original trial in June 2016, Messi said: “I only worried about playing football.”

However, the Supreme Court was having none of it, saying: “It defies logic to concede that someone who earns a large income does not know that he must pay taxes on it.”

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Source: Football Gifts Direct