It appears the Spanish authorities are very much making a point to world famous footballers that they should pay their taxes.
The Mirror are reporting that our former midfield star and current Barcelona ace Javier Mascherano has been handed a year’s jail sentence for tax crimes in 2011 and 2012, and ordered to pay a huge €815,000 fine as well.
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However, the feisty Argentine, one of the best midfielders to play for Liverpool in the Premier League era, is unlikely to ever face prison time – because he admitted the offences, repaid money and has been compliant with the investigation – the Mirror claim.
Instead, he’ll have to pay a further fine.
The 31-year-old published a message on his social accounts following the news:
“I’m a sporting professional, I don’t have a great understanding of taxes and law,” he began.
“To deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people.
“Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in. ”
Mascherano isn’t the only Barcelona player to be tarnished with tax accusations. Lionel Messi’s own trial begins on May 31 (via Sky Sports), and lawyers acting on behalf of the tax office have asked for prison sentences of 22 months to be given to the player and his father.
Mascherano represented Liverpool between 2007 and 2010, making 94 Premier League appearances following his transfer from West Ham. Alongside Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso in midfield, Mascherano formed a spine which almost gained title glory – narrowly missing out to a Manchester United side spearheaded by Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008/09.