Lionel Messi and Jorge Horacio Messi have been found guilty of tax evasion in Spain. The Barcelona superstar and his father were accused of evading more than $4 million in tax payments between 2007 and 2009 and were handed 21-month prison sentences for their actions. However, it's unlikely that either Messi or his father will actually be required to serve any jail time.
Under Spanish law, any tax prison sentence that is under two years long can be served on probation, so Messi and his father will reportedly be allowed to skip the sentences they were given, assuming they abide by the terms of their probation. They will also both be required to pay fines as a result of their tax fraud case. Messi has been ordered to pay about $2.2 million, while his father has been told to pay about $1.6 million.
Messi is still recovering from Argentina's crushing loss to Chile in the Copa América final in June. Messi missed the first penalty kick of his international career during his team's loss at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and after the match, he revealed that he was seriously considering retiring from Argentina's national team.
“My thinking right now and thinking about it in the locker room, I’m done playing with the national team,” he said at the time. “I tried my hardest. It’s been four finals, and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible. It hurts me more than anyone, but it is evident that this is not for me. I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen."