Just hours after South Africa amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to Six Years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud by a Spanish court.
The 29-year-old, among the world’s highest-earning athletes, was accused of creating a string of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid taxation on €4.16m (£3.2m) of image rights earnings between 2007 and 2009.
His father, Jorge Messi, was also given a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009.
Messi insisted he "knew nothing" about the management of his financial affairs, saying his father dealt with them while he was "playing football".
For his part, Jorge Messi claimed he did not have enough knowledge to orchestrate such a fraud, blaming his tax consultants instead.
The Balon d'Or winner will most likely avoid serving time in prison as any sentence under two years can be suspended under the Spanish law.
He can also appeal the ruling in the Spanish Supreme Court.